The 2022/23 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 John C. Betts.
Lectures will be through Zoom until further notice.
Link will be provided closer to the date.

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Architecture of Power in 10th century Córdoba: research perspectives on the city-palace

Superintendence of Cultural Heritage 173 St Christopher Street, Valletta

More than a thousand years ago, at the edge of Western Europe, 10th century Córdoba was the capital of Islamic Iberia, the “Jewel of the World”, symbolizing cultural and intellectual efflorescence. According to historical sources, the ruins of the mythical caliphal city-palace of Madīnat al-Zahrā were located a short distance further west of La Mezquita. The raison d’être of this citadel has been investigated from a multidisciplinary approach for more than two decades. The present investigation illustrates the significance of the roles of architecture, astronomy and philosophy at a time when Caliph Abd al-Rahman III embarked on building “The Brilliant City” in 941. While the elaborate artistic programme attests to the magnificence of the architectural styles, this research considers religious and philosophical factors as the possible prime motives behind the design of the royal ceremonial spaces.

Site visit to the WWII underground radar complex at Dingli

Dingli Cliffs Dingli Cliffs, Ħad-Dingli

The first British Air Ministry Experimental System tested outside the UK, which later became known as Radar, was brought to Dingli and switched on on 27th March 1939. It was meant to be here on trial for six months. With the war being declared in September of the same year this system became the backbone of Malta's Early Warning System, detecting air raids as soon as hostile aircraft got airborne from Sicily.
Immediately a second system was sent out for reliability requirements.
A third system arrived at Dingli Cliffs in January 1941, which was a completely different system meant for low level and surface detection.
Ground to Air communications systems, Wireless Telegraphic systems, VHF Direction Finding and a set of Interference and Eavesdropping systems were also installed along Dingli Cliffs, between the Maddalena Chapel and tal-Pitkal. A number of Barracks were also built with RAF Dingli becoming a Unit entity.
As the war ended, three radar systems were installed at tal-Pitkal which were withdrawn in the early 50s.

Why is that column so small? The things I wish I had known before creating digital models (but was too embarrassed to ask)

Superintendence of Cultural Heritage 173 St Christopher Street, Valletta

With its long tradition of trade contacts with the eastern Mediterranean, coupled with the productivity of the region of Campania, by the 1st C AD Pozzuoli rapidly became a centre for technical and commercial expertise. Its richness in archaeological remains, coupled with its unique geological setting, has resulted in a wealth of scholarly research, particularly on specific public monuments of the port.
Pozzuoli has also been represented in many ways throughout various periods in time – paintings, etchings, narratives. A digital visualization is another form of representation that can be added to the port’s repertoire of descriptions. The talk will look at some of the more interesting aspects of the speaker’s PhD thesis, namely Pozzuoli’s geography and archaeology. It will also undertake a critical assessment of some of the digital models, and in particular how they were built using the methodology principles set out by the London Charter: what worked, what did not work – and what the speaker wished she had known at the time.

The use of ancient DNA studies in a Maltese archaeological context

Superintendence of Cultural Heritage 173 St Christopher Street, Valletta

The study of ancient DNA is becoming increasingly useful for gaining information which
cannot be obtained through traditional archaeological methods. The Maltese climate is not
well suited to ancient DNA preservation, and prior to Dr Josef Caruana’s Ph.D. work, no studies on DNA in a Maltese archaeological context had been carried out. Dr Caruana, a curator at Heritage Malta, will give a presentation of the work conducted on samples taken from one Temple period and two late Roman archaeological sites in Malta. Dr Caruana’s talk will also consider the limitations of such studies.

Site visit to San Pawl Milqi and its landscape context

San Pawl Milqi San Pawl Milqi, Triq San Pawl Milqi, San Pawl il-Baħar

Led by Dr Maxine Anastasi, lecturer Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta. Heritage Malta is kindly offering members a special entrance fee.


Red Star and Snowy Mountain: Landscape, Skyscape and Megalithism in Neolithic NW Iberia

Superintendence of Cultural Heritage 173 St Christopher Street, Valletta

The archaeological record of the European Neolithic is marked by thousands of megalithic monuments of varied styles. Patterns in the orientation of similar megaliths betray a deliberate intent in their construction that can, in some cases, be related to topographic features or celestial events of prominence in the cosmology of their builders. This talk will introduce the field and methodologies of archaeo-astronomy, as complementary to other archaeological approaches. It will then apply them to the specific case of the megalithic structures built in Northwest Iberia during the Mid to Late Neolithic (c. 4000 cal BC). Focusing first on a cluster of passage graves in Carregal do Sal (central Portugal), a pattern in orientation is identified relating the structures to both a conspicuous mountain range on the horizon and the red star Aldebaran that would rise above it. This, it is suggested, marked the time for these Neolithic pastoralists to move to the mountain range, “following the star”. Toponymic folktales that tell similar stories are also considered. Finally, other megalithic clusters in north Portugal are also discussed, and the potential role played by such Neolithic stars discussed.

Day trip to Gozo

Archaeology Centre Car Park 6, University of Malta, Msida

Led by Dr Anton Bugeja, taking 9:45 ferry from Cirkewwa. Sites to be visited include Dwejra, the Gozo Citadel (excluding Museum of Archaeology), Borg l-Gharib [...]

Pure Stone: The Jewish Stone-Vessel Industry andRitual-Purity Practices in the First Two Centuries of the Common Era

Superintendence of Cultural Heritage 173 St Christopher Street, Valletta

From about the late first century BCE, a stone-vessel industry emerged in ancient Palestine which produced a unique corpus of chalkstone vessels whose distribution is virtually limited to Jewish sites. Many scholars link the use of these vessels with Jewish purity practices. In this lecture, Dr Dennis Mizzi will present an overview of ritual purity in ancient Judaism while also exploring the use of chalkstone vessels within this framework. In addition, Dr Mizzi will present preliminary results from the recent excavation of a stone-vessel workshop at ‘Einot Amitai (near Nazareth).

Annual General Meeting

Archaeology Centre Car Park 6, University of Malta, Msida

Followed by drinks and a snack. Please note that there will be no afternoon site visit.

A River Runs Through It: The Göksu Valley Through Time

Superintendence of Cultural Heritage 173 St Christopher Street, Valletta

Lecture by Dr Naoise Mac Sweeney, associate professor of Ancient History, University of Leicester. Sponsored by APS Bank. POSTPONED

Shipwrecks from Malta’s recent past and what these tell us

Superintendence of Cultural Heritage 173 St Christopher Street, Valletta

Lecture by Dr Timmy Gambin, senior lecturer, Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta. Sponsored by APS Bank. NB The Archaeological Society Malta is [...]

[POSTPONED] Seminar in Gozo about Għar Għerduf

Circolo Gozitano 6, Sir Adrian Dingli Street, Victoria

The Archaeological Society Malta and the Circolo Gozitano are organising a seminar in Gozo about Għar Għerduf, the only catacomb site in Gozo. The speakers [...]

Annual General Meeting POSTPONED

Archaeology Centre Car Park 6, University of Malta, Msida

At 11am at the the Archaeology Centre, University Campus, Car Park 6, followed by drinks and a snack. Afternoon site visit to Ras ir-Raħeb, led [...]

Annual General Meeting

Archaeology Centre Car Park 6, University of Malta, Msida

The Annual General Meeting of The Archaeological Society Malta will be held on Saturday 2 June at 11 am, Archaeology Centre, University Campus, Car Park [...]