A number of University of Malta researchers from different disciplines have contributed to a new book on the environmental history of prehistoric Malta, published as part of the ERC-funded FRAGSUS Project (Fragility and sustainability in small island environments: adaptation, cultural change and collapse in prehistory), led by Caroline Malone (Queens University Belfast).
The volume, first of three in this series, reveals the remarkable resilience of the soil-vegetational system of the Maltese landscapes, as well as the adaptations by the Neolithic communities to harness the islands’ productivity in the face of climatic change and inexorable soil erosion.
“This is a benchmark study which employed a series of scientific analyses to reveal how the environment was exploited by the islanders between the seventh and second millennia BC. There are a few lessons to be learnt about the effects of aridification on island territories like Malta and Gozo if this goes unchecked”, said Prof. Nicholas Vella from the Department of Classics and Archaeology who led the Malta team which included Dr Gianmarco Alberti (Criminology), Prof. Anthony Bonanno (Classics and Archaeology), Dr Katrin Fenech (Classics and Archaeology), Dr Reuben Grima (Conservation and Built Heritage) and Prof. Patrick J. Schembri (Biology). The book is available for free download online.
Two companion volumes will be published in the near future, one that presents the results of new excavations carried out at a number of prehistoric temple sites and a second one that looks at the population of prehistoric Malta. The project received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-2007-2013) (Grant agreement No. 323727).