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Title: Scavi e ricerche della Missione Archeologica Italiana a Malta
Authors: Ciasca, Antonia
Rossignani, Maria Pia
Keywords: Missione archeologica italiana a Malta
Ciasca, Antonia, 1930-2001
Tas-Silg complex (Marsaxlokk, Malta)
Excavations (Archaeology) -- Malta -- Marsaxlokk
San Pawl Milqi (Burmarrad, Malta)
Malta -- Antiquities
Pottery, Ancient -- Malta
Archaeological assemblages -- Malta
Malta -- History -- To 870
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: The Archaeological Society
Citation: Ciasca, A. & Rossignani, M.P. (2001). Scavi e ricerche della Missione Archeologica Italiana a Malta. Malta Archaeological Review, 4, 51-67
Abstract: In 1996, the excavations at Tas-Silg were reopened. This large Phoenician sanctuary which dominated the East/West route, was used (from the 8th cent. B.C.) by semitic peoples who practiced their rituals in the ancient megalithic temple constructions of the Tarxien phase. An analysis was made of the central part of the sanctuary, characterized by a complex stratification starting from the neolithic period up until the Byzantine era but, unfortunately, ruined by repeated depredations from the time of the Knights up to the present day. There is, however, a 'stratagraphic island' conserved under the Hellenistic pavement level which seems intact and still to be excavated. This area, however, has already shown evidence of Phoenician type ceramics known as 'redslip' in association with a fragment of protocorinzian type imported pottery (area VIII). With regard to the reconstruction of the sanctuary in the late Phoenician development , an interesting feature was detected in the courtyard in front of the temple facade. It consists of an extensive floor made from beaten limestone chippings which bears the imprint of a number of small raised elements (areas VI, VII). An exceptional find were two Malta Archaeological Review • Issue 4 2000 deposits within a small cultic chapel at the centre of the courtyard (area I), containing small ceramic cups of local production (V cent. B.C.). The courtyard was tiled at the end of the Ill beginning of the I cent. B.C. and was closed in on four sides by a portico with two naves on the north and south sides and a paving in 'opus signino' with regular rows of small white marble tessere. The colonnade of the portico had done order pillars on three sides while on the fourth side, in front of the temple facade, a kind of fifth colonnade was built with capitols in the Corinthian order. The late Hellenistic courtyard conserves the oldest cultic chapel, which might have undergone later changes. However, always within the hellenistic building tradition. By this time the islands were under Roman domination and the origin of this grandiose intervention most probably resides in the patronage of Italic merchants. They were attracted by the economic potential of the island to control the Mediterranean routes proof of which is the great number of anphoras of italic importation. From the same period, it has been possible to date the most recent 'temenos' which was fortified by at least one tower, and which cuts through a number of earlier altars at the northern edge of the sanctuary, (area X). Other investigations have produced new data concerning the water management system of the sanctuary (area V), and about the stratigraphy between the VIIIth and the I centuries B.C. (area VIII). The prehistoric temple spaces must have been in use - with modifications and other interventions - for the whole duration of use of this cult area. The start of excavations in this area has lead to the discovery of a large group of coins, which were found within the rectangular pit formally identified as a baptesimal font (area IX). Among the 275 coins in bronze and silver, which are currently being cleaned and restored, there is one in gold: a tremisse of Constantine IV, coined at the mint of Syracuse between 670 and 674 A.D. At San Pawl Milqi, the reopening of the excavations was aimed at a definitive and rapid publication of the excavation results. In view of this objective, it was planned to analyse the structural remains and make controlled stratagraphic interventions. Together with these approaches, a study of the material excavated in the Nineteen Sixties will also be carried out. In June 2000 an extensive cleaning operation brought to light the structures of the villa which would enable a revisiting of the conclusions reached in regard to these structures including their chronological development. The cleaning operation has also indicated the deterioration of the walls which has lead to a reappraisal of those areas most in need of restoration and consolidation, which works are to be undertaken by the Istituto Centrale peril Restauro of Rome.
Appears in Collections:MAR, Issue 04 (2000)
MAR, Issue 04 (2000)

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