Minister to call for archaeological research on Gozo’s prehistoric life
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Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana is to call for more archaeological research into prehistoric life on the island.
Dr Caruana was speaking at the formal presentation to the Gozo Ministry of a new book by Ghajnsielem author Revel Barker, and she agreed with him that – although a lot was now known about the many temples in the Maltese archipelago – there seemed to be scant information about the people who built them.
Minister Caruana acknowledged the fact that Gozo is rich in archaeological findings but more needs to be done to preserve our heritage and showcase it to future generations.
She mentioned the important role that the Gozo Museum will play in this regard and the Dwejra Opportunity Fund to encourage crowd funding to finance research of archaeological sites in Gozo.
Dr Caruana said she shared the writer’s surprise that no evidence had yet been found, while researching the first 5,000 years of habitation of the islands, of fishing being practised as a source of food.
In his book, The First Gozitans (and Ggantija), Mr Barker says that although items as small as buttons and beads had been discovered, no trace of rods, nets or spears, that might have been used for primitive fishing, had turned up in excavations.
“But then, you would hardly expect to find samples of fishing equipment around the temples.” said Mr Barker. “They would be most likely found in domestic dwellings, and sheds – two, and maybe three, centres of which exist as remains in Ghajnsielem, with more in other parts of Gozo that have never been professionally excavated and examined.”
“Archaeologists seem to be more impressed by the temples than by the amazing and inspired and inventive people who built them. My book attempts to rectify that, at least in part,” he added.
Mr Barker went on to say that a secondary point of the book is to suggest that the dwellings – that logically would have been built before or during work on the temples – might reasonably be considered to predate them.
“In which case we could perhaps find that Ghajnsielem actually has, or had, ‘the oldest free-standing stone building in the world’… and simultaneously learn more about the people who built the magnificent structures – and maybe also why they did it,” said Mr Barker.
Photograph: MGOZ/George Scerri