Excavation works at Bulebel lead to discovery of tombs

Heritage NGO Wirt iz-Zejtun says one of the tombs may have been partly filled with concrete during the construction of the original factory.

Possibly four large rock-hewn tombs were found at Bulebel. (Photo: Wirt iz-Zejtun)
Possibly four large rock-hewn tombs were found at Bulebel. (Photo: Wirt iz-Zejtun)

Archaeologists under the supervision of the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage are currently monitoring on-going excavation works at the Bulebel Industrial Estate, limits of Zejtun, after a number of tombs were discovered last week, Wirt iz-Zejtun reported on its website.

Works were ongoing to demolish a disused factory to make way for a modern extension of the Actavis factory.

"Upon clearing the heaps of building debris after the demolition works and cleaning the rock surface, a number of rock-hewn features have surfaced. The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, who were informed about the discovery, took immediate action and started their investigations," the NGO said.

The debris on site continued to be cleared away under the watchful eye of representatives of the regulatory authority.

Officials from Wirt iż-Żejtun who have also seen the discovery noticed that a number of large rock-hewn tombs, possibly four in number, have been discovered. "One of the tombs seems to have been partly filled in with concrete during the construction of the original factory, possibly way back in the 1970s.  After checking MEPA's website it does not seem that the area was ever reported to be of archaeological interest, and thus had no such constraints imposed on it," the NGO said.

A number of large dressed stone blocks were noticed piled up in heaps very close to the rock-hewn features. An entrance through a bell-shaped well was also noticed.

The site lies approximately 700m North West to a similar discovery made during the excavation works for a new hospital off tal-Barrani Road, Wirt iz-Zejtun said.

"However the number of tombs discovered so far in this new site is much less than those at tal-Barrani.  The size of the recently discovered tombs is also much larger than those at tal-Barrani," it added.

The heritage NGO expressed its hope that authorities reach a sensible balance between economic investment and the protection of cultural heritage: "We hope that all paths towards achieving proper mitigation measures to safeguard this discovery are properly considered."


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