Remains of ancient walls that could date as far back as Punic times have been unearthed just outside of Ċittadella, Gozo, at the site of a proposed car park.

The two walls have been tentatively dated to the Punic period (200 BC), however, they continued to be in use into the Roman period right through to Late Antiquity.

The discovery was made in test trenches during controlled monitoring by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, as part of a second phase of archaeological excavations.

Last month, this newspaper reported on concerns, raised by residents, that ancient archaeological remains were cleared away during works to pave a ramp off Triq Sant’Ursola in Victoria, Gozo.

The works are needed to form a temporary access ramp, which allows for the carting away of inspected fill resulting from archaeological investigations that are related to a separate application to construct a three-storey car park.

The proposed parking last year triggered public outcry as it could see the demolition of a townhouse by civil engineer Ġużè Damato on Triq Il-Kastell. The application has been passed on to a case officer.

When contacted, Superintendent of Cultural Heritage Anthony Pace had noted that the superintendence had not yet encountered intact and secure archaeological deposits.

Yesterday, this newspaper was told that during the first phase of the monitoring exercise, a large quantity of dumped soil had been examined.

The material seems to have originated from 1950s construction, when Castle Hill Street was developed.

Construction waste appears to have been dumped in the fields which now lie just behind the houses that line the street.

The second phase of excavations proceeded to a depth of just over two metres, and that was when the two ancient walls were unearthed.

Several fragments of pottery were found to represent various periods of Gozo’s antiquity.

The walls themselves may have formed part of ancient fortifications pre-dating the present Ċittadella. Their extent is not yet known and excavations might need to be extended.

The Superintendence and the Church authorities welcomed the discovery, which shed new light on the urban extent of the Ċittadella.

The Superintendence has already held technical discussions with the Gozo Diocese to protect the recent discovery, and the latter is keen to protect the discovered remains and valorise them in the best way possible, according to the Superintendence.

Photographs show the trenches and the depth of the earth removed. Photos: Superintendence of Cultural Heritage


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