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The Zejtun Roman Villa project
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The Zejtun Roman Villa project

The Żejtun Roman villa, situated in the grounds of the St Thomas More Junior Lyceum School for Girls, is one of two surviving villa sites on the Maltese Islands that comprises both a residential and an industrial area. The archaeological significance of the Żejtun villa, together with that of San Pawl Milqi Roman, cannot be stressed enough. Other villas of the Roman period in Malta and Gozo are either wholly inaccessible (Ta’ Kaccatura), covered over (Ramla l-Ħamra), or else have been destroyed (Tad-Dawl). It is for this reason that the University has embarked on a multidisciplinary research project to improve and enhance our knowledge about the Zejtun villa site.

The current project, which involves the Department of Classics and Archaeology, and the Department of the Built Heritage, is aimed at the conservation of the decorated areas of the site, which were uncovered in 1964.  This first archaeological excavation, prompted by the discovery of ancient remains in 1961, whilst work was underway for the construction of the new village school, was followed by other discoveries eight years later, when an annual excavation project, led by the Museums Department, commenced. More recently; four further seasons of excavations – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 – took place. Details are available on the project website:

The conservation project is a collaboration between the University of Malta and Din l-Art Helwa and is sponsored by HSBC Malta Foundation. It involves the documentation of the tiled and plastered areas, the stabilisation of the decorative elements, as well as the erection of a temporary shelter over these areas

The project is the result of close collaboration of both staff and students in the Department of Classics and Archaeology, and the Department of the Built Heritage. Students following the B.Cons. course within the Department of the Built Heritage carried out documentation of the surviving decorated parts, under the supervision of Heritage Malta conservators who teach on the course. The design of the shelter for the site was carried out by students from the Department of Civil Engineering, under the direction of Prof. Alex Torpiano.

A symposium on the Zejtun Roman Villa will be organised by Wirt iz-Zejtun in March 2012


The decorated residential part of the Roman Villa (photo Dr N Vella)


Biological growth threatening the excavated areas (photo by Dr N Vella)




Last Updated: 28 September 2011

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