Heritage Malta acquires remains of Bronze Age village at Borġ in-Nadur

Heritage Malta acquires 13-tumoli land at Borġ in-Nadur, where a village dating back to the Bronze Age is buried

Heritage Malta has acquired a piece of land at Borġ in-Nadur, measuring nearly 13 tumoli, beneath a part of which lies buried a village dating back to the Bronze Age. In terms of size, this is the largest acquisition of archaeological value ever made by the State. The acquisition was made with a total investment of €200,000. 

At a press conference on site, Minister for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Owen Bonnici, expressed his satisfaction that in terms of size, this is the largest purchase of archaeological value ever made by the State. He added that today marks another link in a chain of efforts leading to a new meaning for accessibility to our heritage, as well as a new meaning to heritage itself, which should not just be admired but lived and felt because it is what forms us as a nation.

Heritage Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, Noel Zammit, said that this newly-acquired prehistoric site is quite unique, because it is mostly associated with the Bronze Age period, and not the Temple period as are other prehistoric sites managed by Heritage Malta. Thus, the agency has a new opportunity to explain another aspect of Maltese prehistory that previously was not represented by a physical site within its portfolio.

With Wied Żembaq on one side, Wied Dalam on the other, and a bay to its south, the area known as Borġ in-Nadur has always been regarded as important from a historical perspective. The structural remains on site had traditionally been attributed to the Phoenicians or Romans. It was only in 1881 that a clearance operation on the megalithic wall, later determined to be of Bronze Age origin, was undertaken. In the late 19th century, German philologist Albert Mayr proposed that the remains were a prehistoric fortified village due to huts he identified from plans of the 1880s excavations.

The idea of a Bronze Age fortified settlement is typical of the time, when the inhabitants of the island seemingly felt more secure inhabiting areas which were either hard to reach, or more easily defensible. The large amount of silo pits that were present along the coast are also associated with the Bronze Age.

Beyond the prehistorical perspective, this site also has huge potential to offer educational and fun activities for various types of audiences, as well as opportunities for archaeological research and local and foreign collaborations. The site’s potential would eventually allow for repeated visits, each time offering a different experience from the previous one. Some 40 different thematic activities, offering both adventure and education, could be organised on site, including pottery making, grain harvesting, flat bread making, weaving and tool making.