The Malta Independent 20 June 2021, Sunday

Punic tomb discovered during water works in Zabbar

Thursday, 27 May 2021, 12:01 Last update: about 23 days ago

A Punic tomb dating back over two thousand years was discovered during works carried out by the Water Services Corporation in the south of Malta near Żabbar.

The tomb, which was still sealed, was opened, revealing a number of urns containing the cremated remains of human bones.

It appears that an adult and a young child were buried there, based on the bones discovered so far. An amphora, two urns, an oil lamp, a glass perfume bottle and other pottery vessels typically of the Punic period were found.

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The burial rite was altered through the Punic and Roman times. Sometimes the bodies were burnt, and other times they were buried intact in the grave. Cremation necessitated a variety of resources, including wood to burn the body and the presence of a person throughout the whole process of cremation which took several hours.

Currently, the material is being removed from the tomb and transported to a laboratory, where the pottery and bones are being consolidated, cleaned, and analyzed.

The Water Services Corporation is currently expanding the drainage network in the south of Malta to those areas which currently make use of cesspits. Because of the archaeological sensitivity of the location, the Superintendence requested that an archaeologist accompany the crew in case any ancient remains are discovered.

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