The Malta Independent 22 November 2014, Saturday

A Focus on Żejtun’s Roman villa

Malta Independent Sunday, 23 September 2012, 00:00 Last update: about 6 months ago

On Saturday 6 October, Wirt iż-Żejtun will be holding a one-day symposium at Juventutis Domus in St Gregory Street, Żejtun related to the research, conservation and management of the archaeological site of the Roman villa situated in St Margaret School (also known as Carlo Diacono) in Żejtun.

Although a local theme will be discussed, the symposium has a national level of interest and the speakers involved are the best academics and experts in the fields of archaeology, history, conservation and management of cultural heritage. Deadline for registration for this symposium is 30 September and can be done on http://wirtizzejtun.com/symposium-2012/. Meanwhile, orders are being accepted for the publication The Żejtun Roman Villa: Research, Conservation, Management, which will include a collection of papers that will be discussed during the symposium.

With the aim of promoting awareness and increasing interest in this site, Wirt iż-Żejtun is also organizing an exhibition, which will include information, photos and a video related to the Żejtun Roman villa and the industry of the production of olive oil. Moreover, this exhibition will provide the exclusive opportunity to the public to see some of the artefacts that were discovered during the years of excavation on this site. Among the exhibits, there is a selection of pottery pieces that represent the various periods of time during which this site was used. A particularly significant shard found in 1976 bears an inscription of a dedication to Ashtart, similar examples of which were found at the archaeological location of Tas-Silġ. A hoard of 43 bronze Roman coins dating mostly to the 3rd century AD, which were recovered from the site in Żejtun, will also be exhibited. However, the artefact that will probably attract most attention will be a small stone oil press that was unearthed this year during the excavations that were held in summer by the students of the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta. It is interesting to note that when this site was discovered accidentally back in the 1960s, some ancient apparatus that was used for oil production in Roman times was discovered. Some have interpreted such a find as a link to the origin of the name of the village of Żejtun itself. Among the other items in the exhibition, one must definitely not miss the collection of pottery artefacts and other material that was found on 8 April 1963 in a Punic tomb in a field very near to the Żejtun Roman villa.

The exhibition will be held in the Arts and Crafts Centre in St Gregory Street Żejtun between 27 September and 7 October. The exhibition will be open in the evening during the week and in the morning on Sunday, and all day during Żejt iż-Żejtun activities, which will take place on 29 September.

These events would not have been possible without the cooperation of volunteers that gave their assistance to Wirt iż-Żejtun, together with Heritage Malta, the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta, the Żejtun Parish and the Żejtun Local Council.

More information can be found on the website www.wirtizzejtun.com.

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