The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum will be benefiting from a €748,425 grant to ensure the stabilisation of the site through the application of current technologies.

The site, an underground prehistoric cemetery used from around 4000BC to 2500BC, has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Temperature, relative humidity and carbon dioxide levels are constantly monitored to ensure the hypogeum’s long-term preservation. An environmental control system was installed in the 1990s – however, technological advances and improved understanding of the challenges faced on this site have necessitated the review and redesign of its environmental management.

The main elements of the project, which is supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2009-2014, include:

• Studies to assess the current condition of the site in terms of conservation, geology and organic residues.

• Elimination of harmful material and residues.

• Installation of a microclimate management system, with both passive and active control measures.

• Investigation and replacement, where necessary, of overlying connections to water mains and sewers.

Parliamentary Secretary for Culture José Herrera described the hypogeum, which is managed by Heritage Malta, as “one of the most important sites in Malta”.

He added that the Government was giving a lot of importance to UNESCO. A study is currently underway to designate new sites to be included in the World Heritage list, such as Mdina.Studies are also conducted regarding the possible inclusion of non-tangible assets such as the Maltese language and għana.

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