The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
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TMID Editorial: Appreciating the past to build a better future

Wednesday, 3 April 2024, 09:35 Last update: about 11 days ago

The idea that the Victoria school in Gozo is to have an Archaeological Interpretation Centre is one of many ways through which the younger generations – and not only them – should be taught to appreciate what our ancestors did and what they left for us.

An ancient quarry which was discovered in 2020 will be incorporated in the school, and used as a venue for lessons. The quarry dates back to the third or fourth century AD, covers some 5,000 square metres, and is possibly the first ever example of quarrying in Gozo.

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To preserve history, learn from it and use it as a means for students to understand how things were different in the past is one way of educating the younger generations. If one does not appreciate what there was in the past, it is harder for them to appreciate what they have today and work for a better future.

What the government is doing, in this case, sets an example. And the way the discovery of the quarry was tackled should serve in other, similar situations.

It is good to note that all this is happening at a time when there is so much controversy about having a development so close to the Ggantija Temples, in Xaghra, not too far away from where this quarry was discovered. Even here, thankfully, a step back has been taken, as the heritage superintendence requested that the Planning Authority freeze the permit issued last November until an impact assessment exercise is concluded.

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage is deeply involved in the Victoria quarry project, taking a strong interest in the planning application phase and providing recommendations. This includes, for example, having a regular monitoring of the site in question by an archaeological expert approved by the superintendence.

This has served to have a better documentation and preservation of archaeological features that were found on the site as the works continue.

The Victoria quarry could serve as a perfect example to instil a stronger sense of pride among the younger generations. Sometimes we tend to forget that Malta has a history which dates back much further than that of many other countries, and it is irritating when this history is not given the appropriate importance.

It is unfortunate that today’s younger generations appear to take little interest is matters that go beyond their own circle of activity. One survey after another shows them distant from social life, and this includes politics, and it is also safe to say that their knowledge about Malta’s past is also limited. One wonders how many of them would be able to answer simple questions about events that have shaped Malta’s history.

And this is why there should be more examples like what is happening with the quarry in Victoria.

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