Updated 2.30pm with ministry reply
3D scan of the interior of Calypso’s Cave in Gozo will have to be repeated as the results were “not what was expected”.
The Gozo Ministry later confirmed that the scan, carried out by the University of Malta, was not conclusive, noting that it had been done "free of charge".
The cave was closed several years ago as it was considered to be unsafe, following a partial collapse. The popular tourist site was untouched for some time but earlier this year, Wirt Għawdex was commissioned by the government to finance a study on the condition of the cave and the interventions required to preserve it.
However, responding to a parliamentary question by MP Chris Said, Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana said that while both the internal and external 3D scans had been done, the former would have to be re-done.
The clay layer and how this affects the site’s stability will also have to be monitored in each of the four seasons, prior to any intervention.
Gozo has been associated with Ogygia since the 4th century BC, with Professor Anthony Bonanno of the University of Malta confirming that Gozo's connection with the nymph Calypso goes back to 300 BC.
In Homer's Odyssey, Calypso detained Odysseus on Ogygia for seven years and kept him from returning to his home of Ithaca, wanting to marry him.
The site was popular with tourists, prompting reader Kevin Cutajar to write to the Times of Malta in 2016 lamenting that if the cave were to collapse, it would mean “the Gozitan identity, which we so proudly date back to Calypso, would have lost its place of origin. This is not just an issue of Gozitan pride, but also an issue that impinges on our pockets”.
"Wouldn’t the eventual loss of Calypso’s Cave mean that we have one attraction less to attract tourists to Gozo and to spend their money here? So, what are we waiting for to stop neglecting Calypso’s Cave and to carry out the necessary restoration works?"