Zejtun Roman villa to be open to public on Friday

GSD Marketing Ltd sponsor archaeologists investigating the Zejtun Roman villa

18 July 2017, 12:42pm
The site was abandoned until 2006 when a team from the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta was invited to re-investigate the area
The site was abandoned until 2006 when a team from the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta was invited to re-investigate the area
The remains of a Roman villa within the grounds of the St Thomas More College in Zejtun will be open to the public on Friday, 21 July, with tours being given every half hour between 9.00am and 12.00pm.

A Roman villa was essentially a large farming estate that combined an area intended for residence and a working area.

The site in Zejtun was discovered in the 1960s when work was underway to build the school, followed by a systematic excavation campaign carried out between 1972 and 1976.

The set-up catered for the extraction of oil from olives. The machinery, consisting of stone blocks and a number of decantation vats for oil, were discovered in the 1970s together with a series of rooms, carefully paved with terracotta lozenge-shaped tiles. Some of the walls were found to contain traces of the original plaster, decorated with simple line paintings in red, yellow and green.

The site was abandoned until 2006 when a team from the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta was invited to re-investigate the area. Since then, four-week excavation campaigns have taken place every year.

For a month, students reading for a degree in Archaeology work side-by-side with professional archaeologists to uncover the villa complex, while being trained to dig systematically and to document their discoveries.

This year the archaeologists are concentrating their efforts in two areas: an area where the decantation vats stood and a large wall that marks the limits of the villa complex.

A sponsorship from GSD Marketing Ltd is ensuring that a steady supply of mineral water keeps the team going in the summer heat.

“We are proud to support the Department of Archeology in this endeavour. Cultural heritage can provide an automatic sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better understand previous generations and the history of our ancestors. Therefore it is our honour to help in making this possible,’’ Maria Micallef, COO of General Soft Drinks Ltd, said.

To reach the site visitors should turn left on Triq Dun Lawrenz Degabriele from the Zejtun bypass, skirt the school and turn left again on Triq Luqa Briffa.

Further information about the activities of the Department of Classics and Archaeology can be found on the website: http://www.um.edu.mt/arts/classics-archaeo