An archaeological site being excavated at Mġarr ix-Xini has further enforced the notion that viticulture and wine production have been an important part of the Maltese economy since the Classical period.

The excavation site, at Tal-Loġġa, is in a field next to where two troughs dug into the rock were found and is believed to have been used for grape pressing.

The field is being excavated in a bid to shed more light on the troughs’ use. Some 15 sets of troughs have been found in Mġarr ix-Xini valley to date.

Indications so far are that a Punic or Roman quarry existed prior to the field in place today. Evidence of rock cutting for stone blocks has been found.

However, by the Classical period, the field was in place, meaning it was likely that grapes were harvested from it and pressed to make wine in the troughs found nearby.

Local Councils Parliamentary Secretary Chris Said visited the site yesterday and pointed out that the excavations were an integral part of the Regional Park project being undertaken by the Sannat and Xewkija councils, with the assistance of his Secretariat, which aims to make the Mġarr ix-Xini valley easily accessible to the public once again.

Existing but abandoned passageways in the area will be uncovered so people can walk down and enjoy the geological formations, flora and fauna that the valley boasts.

Dr Said added that the government was financing, to the tune of €237,000, 15 special projects through his secretariat’s Special Projects in Small Localities scheme this year.

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