Just off the roundabout near the airport, we reached the catacombs of Hal Resqun, which though not as big as the other catacombs in Rabat, have significant archaeological value, so much so that they were preserved a few years ago when the road and existing roundabout were being constructed.
Like other archaeological sites in Malta, the catacombs of Hal Resqun were excavated by Sir Temi Zammit almost 110 years ago.
Cultural Heritage Superintendent, Joseph Magro Conti, said that the site dates back to the fourth century after Christ and of particular note are the Christian Graffiti and symbolism engraved in the rock.
“Temi Zammit, who excavated it, called it the creation of the world where human beings appear with their hands held up, referred to as the Orantes pose, like someone who is praying with their hands up in the air, as when we say the Lord’s prayer. But there are also animals with them horses, cattle and fish. ”
The Head of Cultural Heritage Surveillance , Jonathan Borg, said that their mind is at rest that there are no other similar structures in the area having conducted specialised testing by georadar to take a picture of the underlying land.
“We took a picture of all the surrounding streets – this is an exercise which tells you if their are empty spaces like catacombs, tombs, cisterns, wells. This study was carried out and no similar archaeological evidence was found.”
One of the project architects, Albert Spiteri said that he was drawing up a conservation plan for the Hal Resqun Catacombs don’t to be touched or compromised.
“We got experts from abroad to see what kind of measures the contractor working in the area should take care in order for there to be no detrimental effects to these catacombs, to avoid damaging them and for there not to be any kind of movement during excavation. ”
The architect explained that rock samples were being taken at a depth of 15 meters to determine the strength of the surrounding area so that when the work is approved it is carried out with the greatest caution so as not to cause any damage to Catacombs.