2008 - Survey Imgarr ix-Xini


After a brief interruption last year, work on the Mġarr ix-Xini Valley archaeological survey resumed this summer. This year (2008), work focused on an agricultural field incorporating a rock-cut trough set in the lands ‘Tal-Knisja’ overlooking Il-Gandotta which is a tributary joining the main course of the Mġarr ix-Xini valley. Agricultural activity and its associated agro-industry in this area go back to ancient times as confirmed by the exercise undertaken this year.

As in the past years of the survey, the archaeological investigation was undertaken by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage with the active participation of students from the Department of Archaeology and Classics of the University of Malta. The whole exercise took one week to complete: from the 21st to the 25th of July 2008.

The objectives of this investigation were to confirm (or otherwise) and identify the relationship / association between the field itself and the rock-cut trough set incorporated within it, to study the formation of the field terrace and the processes involved, to possibly determine what was cultivated in the field and, eventually, processed in the trough set and, finally, to date the origins of the field and, by association, the terrace and the trough set. While, to a certain extent, some of these objectives have already been reached, the others are awaiting the analysis outcome of the material retrieved.

After setting up a grid all over the entire area subjected to investigation, the exercise consisted of digging two trenches down to bedrock. One of these trenches was purposely aligned with the rock-cut trough set. A third trench joined together these two trenches on their northern extent. The stratigraphic layers with their contents were documented via plans, section drawings, level readings, photography, and field-notes. The field (or, rather, its part that was subjected to investigation) was entirely planned together with the trenches while a profile down a large section of the terrace was also produced. The data collected and results obtained from this archaeological investigation will be duly published as part of the Mġarr ix-Xini Valley archaeological survey. 

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