For centuries, between AD 1000 and 1530, the Maltese archipelago was intimately drawn into the Sicilian sphere of influence. The archipelago’s compact size and geographical proximity to its much larger neighbour directly contributed to placing Malta within the Sicilian orbit. The roots of the Maltese cave-dwelling phenomenon probably belong to the twelfth century and are the result of new attitudes adopted following the second Norman conquest of AD 1127. A strong troglodytic tradition during this period is probably connected to orchestrated attempts aimed at increasing the agricultural and hydrological output of specifically designated countryside areas of Malta and Gozo.
Dr Keith Buhagiar will discuss these issues in a talk entitled Medieval Malta: an island satellite in the lee of Sicily: its landscape, hydrology and culture on Wednesday, 15 November 2017. The presentation is part of The Archaeological Society’s lecture programme, supported by APS Bank, and will be held at 6pm at the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, 173, St Christopher Street, Valletta.
Photo: An abandoned cave-dwelling unit at Baħrija. By Keith Buhagiar.