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Title: Tal-Ghadajjar/Tal-Wej : a landscape rich in biodiversity and culture
Authors: Cassar, Marie-Claire (2018)
Keywords: Tal-Wej (Mosta, Malta)
Geology -- Malta -- Naxxar
Geology -- Malta -- Mosta
Plants -- Malta -- Naxxar
Plants -- Malta -- Mosta
Geomorphology -- Malta -- Naxxar
Geomorphology -- Malta -- Mosta
Issue Date: 2018
Citation: Cassar, M.-C. (2018). Tal-Ghadajjar/Tal-Wej : a landscape rich in biodiversity and culture (Master’s dissertation).
Abstract: The Maltese landscape is an ancient one, much of it permeated with a long history of human intervention. The resources created by nature have been taken over by human beings along the span of time to become the cultural landscape we know today. Settlers in the area encroached on vast stretches of virgin land and transmuted them through uses and reuses. It is intriguing to look deeper and wider into such transformations so as to study the impacts of this takeover and to identify the various layers of these activities and usages – from prehistory to the contemporary age. It is therefore the aim of this study to investigate the historical, cultural and environmental evolution of one particular area situated in the north of Malta. This dissertation will focus on a site that lies in an area on the boundary between the localities of Naxxar and Mosta. It is known as Tal-Għadajjar / Tal-Wej and extends to the Santa Margerita plateau. This dissertation will look closely at the historical and cultural importance of features existing at this site which include cart-ruts, rock-cut tombs, old quarries, dry rubble walls and ancient pathways, a rural sixteenth-century chapel and a plague cemetery, along with other cultural heritage. The research will, furthermore, focus on the ecological significance of the site, raising awareness of the Special Protected Areas of which this is one. It is, in fact, hoped that this study will serve to increase the public’s interest in, and alertness to, this area so that more protection is allocated by the authorities to its natural and cultural wealth, helping to spare it from more building encroachments, an activity which has arguably plagued this country. Even though predominantly rocky with sparse soil cover, Tal-Wej has been adapted for some agricultural activity extant to this day. It has been used by hunters and trappers in the past, an activity which to some extent continues today. Quarrying on a small scale has now been discontinued but it has served towards the livelihood of some while it lasted. Interviews with persons who frequented the area and knew it well have revealed many anecdotal and factual details about people and practices that stretch from childhood to adulthood. A last but very important ecological feature which goes beyond the flora and fauna are the seasonal freshwater ponds which have given the area its Maltese name – Tal-Għadajjar (the place of the ponds). Besides a home for miniscule creatures, the ponds have created many occasions for children to play ‘water’ games, for sheep and goats to find some fresh water to drink as they are taken to graze in the area, and for hunters to wait for their prey as these come down for a moment of respite and to restore their energy while migrating. The present author is hopeful that this study will also help to enrich the public recollection about a site whose story and importance may have been overlooked by the majority, causing its memory to be extinguished with the passing of time.
Description: M.MALTESE STUD.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsMS - 2018

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