25 years ago - The Times

Wednesday, May 18, 1994

Malta’s Neolithic temples in ‘perilous state’ ‒ study

The façade of one of Ġgantija’s neolithic temples in Gozo is in a state of near collapse, the government has been warned. The left wall of the nearly 6,000-year-old south temple is crumbling and an Italo-Maltese technical team has called for urgent action following an eight-year study of Malta’s neolithic temple complexes.

Last month, part of a wall at Mnajdra neolithic temples collapsed. Considerable damage was caused. And if the investigating team’s worst fears come true the next to fall will be the six-metre-high Ġgantija megalithic wall which marks the Xagħra skyline in Gozo.

In an extensive report presented to Culture Minister Michael Refalo yesterday, the team recommended that the dangerous wall should be propped up. It is estimated that the repair work would cost some Lm200,000. All Malta’s neolithic temples are in a perilous state, the minister was told. The news has prompted him to “sound the alarm” and appeal for foreign technical and financial aid to save the temples.

Stone conservation scientist Joanne Cassar said salt was a major contributor to the erosion of the neolithic temples. And to restore the stone, she said, was a long, expensive and labourious project. “It will have to be block by block and stone by stone,” she said.

Half a century ago - Sunday Times of Malta

Sunday, May 18, 1969

Police interrogate man after blasts demolish three houses

Three violent explosions completely demolished three houses and a garage  in Balzan on Friday night, burying a nine-year-old and shattering window panes and roof slabs over 200 yards away. A dense cloud of dust rose over the scene in Main Street, Balzan, as terrified residents rushed out of their houses.

Mr V. Micallef, of 123 Main street, his wife Helen and their three children, Charlotte, 9, Eithne, 7, and Maria, four and a half years old, were asleep when the explosions demolished half their house. Charlotte was half-buried under rubble and taken to hospital for treatment after neighbours pulled her out. Mrs Micallef, expecting a child next month, and the rest of the family, except Eithne, were also taken to hospital.

The explosions came from a flat tenanted by a man, who only recently came to Malta from overseas. Neighbours said he kept very much to himself and none knew his name though they call him Ġanni. He was taken to Police headquarters for interrogation yesterday morning after he was located in Mellieħa.

Civil Defence personnel were searching among the debris because no one knew where Ġanni was. Nobody could account for the explosions and no reason has been given yet.

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