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Excavation

  • Ghar Ix-Xih
  • Mgarr Ix-Xini, Gozo
  •  
  • Malta
  • Ix-Xewkija

Summary (English)

  • Għar ix-Xiħ is a modified cave site located on the outskirts of Xewkija within the valley overlooking the bay of Mġarr ix-Xini, Gozo. The importance of Għar ix-Xiħ as an archaeological site was realized recently by a Gozitan archaeologist George Azzopardi who noticed several rock-cut features carved on the cave walls and surrounding garigue. Intrigued by the discovery of such markings George scoured the area for more signs of anthropogenic presence. Lying on the rubble wall that defines the southern extent of the site, he discovered the head of a terracotta figurine which is now on display at the Museum of Archaeology in Gozo.

    These discoveries prompted annual excavation campaigns since 2005 in which a series of rich cultural deposits have been uncovered and are in the process of being studied. The initial findings, including terracotta figurines, pottery sherds, marine shells and bones, point to the existence at Għar ix-Xiħ of a ritual site, possibly a shrine dating to the Late Punic/Early Roman (Republican) period. Due to its close proximity to an ideal anchorage at Mġarr ix-Xini bay, the shrine might have been linked to seafaring activities.

    The primary aim of the Għar ix-Xiħ excavation project is to assess the type and extent of cultural activity on one archaeological site within the Mġarr ix-Xini valley. The project also aims to provide fieldwork experience to undergraduate and graduate students reading for a degree in Archaeology at the University of Malta.

  • Nicholas Vella - University of Malta 
  • Maxine Anastasi - University of Malta 

Director

  • Anthony Bonanno - University of Malta
  • Anthony Pace - Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
  • George Azzopardi - Secretary of the Mgarr ix-Xini Regional Park Project
  • Nathaniel Cutajar - Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
  • Nicholas Vella - University of Malta

Team

  • Lieven Verdonck
  • Alessandro Quercia - Freelance
  • Maxine Anastasi - University of Malta
  • Rebecca Farrugia

Research Body

  • Superintendence of Cultural Heritage
  • University of Malta

Funding Body

  • Sannat and Xewkija (Gozo) local councils

Images

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