Saved: Gozo’s only Roman-era catacombs to be expropriated for conservation

An area of 766sq.m. at Għar Gerduf in Kerċem is being expropriated by the government to conserve the unique Roman-era catacombs

The land on which the catacombs of Għar Gerduf are built is being purchased by the government to conserve the unique remains
The land on which the catacombs of Għar Gerduf are built is being purchased by the government to conserve the unique remains

The land on which Gozo’s only Roman-era catacombs are built is being expropriated for conservation by the government for more than €400,000.

The Government Gazzette of 29 January gave formal notice of expropriation by the Lands Authority of four plots of land in the area of Għar Gerduf in Kerċem.

Valuations of the four sites carried out by architect Edwin Mintoff put the total value of expropriation at €405,500.

A plot measuring 177sq.m. was valued at €230,000, a much larger plot of 512sq.m. was valued at €81,000 and two smaller plots measuring 42sq.m. and 35sq.m. were valued at €45,900 and €48,600 each.

The valuations took into consideration the plots' potential for development according to existing planning policies.

The Għar Gerduf catacombs were at the centre of controversy two years ago when the Planning Authority first granted a permit for the construction of a house in the vicinity and shortly after withdrew it over a technical breach.

The Archaeological Society of Malta describes Għar Gerduf as a “truly unique” Roman burial site in Gozo.

Għar Gerduf is the only late Roman and Byzantine catacomb in Gozo described by Professor Mario Buhagiar in his survey of 1986.

According to the Archaeological Society, a recent reassessment of the remains has claimed that Għar Gerduf has characteristics that diverge from contemporary sites in Malta.

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