Archaeologists have slammed plans for an apartment block close to the Ġgantija temples in Xagħra, Gozo, saying it is 'beyond shocking' that any developer would have the audacity to make the proposal.

A development application has been made for a block of 31 apartments and 20 basement garages some 200 metres away from the temples, which were built between 3,600 - 3,200 BCE.

"Such a monstrosity threatens both visitors’ enjoyment of the prehistoric area and obstructs archaeological research into the civilisation that erected these magnificent edifices," the Malta-Arch NGO said.   

"Although the land managed by Heritage Malta itself may remain untouched, its archaeology extends well beyond those boundaries. Ill-conceived construction threatens valuable archaeological data contained within the ground and would severely alter the skyscape around the temples. Important information regarding Ġgantija’s larger archaeological context would also be much reduced, as would the opportunity to discover new knowledge about Neolithic settlements."

Caroline Malone, the leader of the FRAGSUS project that investigated Late Neolithic archaeological data in Xagħra said: "This narrow lane is wholly unsuitable for largescale development; road access is already compromised and dangerous. No amount of archaeological recording or intervention can mitigate the loss”.

Another archaeoloist, Isabelle Vella Gregory, said in an objection to the PA that  the project has an impact on the wider archaeological landscape, extending beyond the immediate temple and into the threatened area.

The NGO urged 'everyone with a conscience' to file an objection with the Planning Authority as soon as possible.  

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