The 2023/24 lecture series is being held in collaboration with the
Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta.
Special thanks to the head of department Dr Carmel Serracino.
All lectures will be held in person unless otherwise indicated.

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Lecture: Bur Mgħeż: biography of a lost Neolithic site

24 January @ 6:00 PM

Lecture by Dr Omar N’Shea – International School for Foundation Studies, University of Malta.

Abstract: In 1911, during research conducted at a quarry in Imqabba known as Tan-Naxxari, Professor Napoleon Tagliaferro discovered a fissure in the limestone rock, which contained the buried remains of multiple individuals along with funerary paraphernalia. Based on the analysis of pottery fragments and other remnants, Tagliaferro determined that the fissure was used during the same period as the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and served as a collective burial site in the vicinity of  id-Debdieba, a site now in the vicinity of the Hal-Farrug road. He named the site the Cave of Bur Mgħeż and soon, studies began to better understand the mortuary culture of the Neolithic communities in the Maltese islands. The Cave of Bur Mgħeż, along with Tagliaferro’s writings on it, quickly attracted the attention of both Temi Zammit and the Antiquities Committee. Around 1920, efforts commenced to purchase the land containing the cave from the Mensa Vescovile by the Government, allowing the cessation of quarrying activities at the site and its protection. However, today, the site is lost and can only be found in the National Archives of Malta, in some reports of the museum director and curators, and in material remnants scattered in various museums. In this talk, the site itself and the discoveries made there, how it was excavated and studied, what is known about it today, and how its memory can be preserved are discussed.

You may download the presentation (PDF, ~7Mb).


24 January
6:00 PM


The Archaeological Society Malta
View Organizer Website


Hotel Excelsior
Floriana, Malta + Google Map