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Digging deep to uncover Malta’s ancient history

Description

This archive footage from 1966 shows archeologists exploring one of Malta’s least-known ancient sites.

Għar Mirdum, which means Buried Cave, is perhaps the richest example of a Bronze Age cave site in Europe.

Lying a stone’s throw from Dingli Cliffs, it was discovered by a group from the 1st Sliema Scout Group on 16 November 1964.

The Scouts initially thought they had stumbled upon something unusual to explore but what they found was beyond their wildest dreams – evidence that people may have used the cave as their home around 3000 years ago.

Experts believe the roof of the cave entrance collapsed suddenly, burying all the community’s belongings where they were.

Important finds from the site include a bronze dagger, with an exquisitely carved bone handle, two bronze rivets and a lump of bronze which implies local metal-working.

The rich archaeological heritage of the Maltese Islands is world-famous.

The Ġgantija Temples in Gozo have been officially recognised by UNESCO as the oldest free-standing buildings in the world, older than Stonehenge in Wiltshire or the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

A good place to learn more about Malta’s ancient sites is the National Museum of Archaeology on Republic Street in Valletta.

The Gozo Museum of Archaeology at the Citadel in Victoria is also well worth a visit, and tells the story of the island’s incredible temples.

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