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Mizieb Rock-Cut Tomb

In Mizieb there was a rock-cut tomb which was found by serendipity by workmen, when they were digging to lay a cable. It seems that this tomb was filled with rubble and thus unable to be seen.

This rock-cut tomb was found on 16 November 1938, when a number of workmen went to the Mellieha police with an antique jar. The police immediately reported the Museums Department about this case. When the archaeologists examined the site they revealed that a burial chamber was cut through at a depth of 1 foot 6 inches below the surface of the road. It is a probability that a long time ago the roof of the tomb had fallen and the chamber was filled with stones and soil. The debris damaged and disturbed the contents of the tomb. 1
Unfortunately, the excavation had to be carried in a hurry because of the urgency of the works. Therefore, it was not possible to examine the site in detail. The archaeological report of the site is very limited but it contains very useful information. The report says that the rectangular entrance to the burial chamber was facing North and its dimensions were 3 feet 6 inches in length, 3 feet in breadth, and 2 feet 6 inches high.
Two human remains were found and from their examination it is possible to determine their age. One corpse belonged to an old man and the other belonged to an individual of about 24 years. 2
Apart from the corpses, some small funerary pottery shreds were found, but, unfortunately the type of vases could not be determined with certainty. The jar that was found by the workmen is an amphorae, 2 feet high, with a cylindrical body and a rounded lower extremity, short necked and armed with two lateral and vertical handles attached to the upper part of the body. The only other object that was recovered was a bowl with an everted rim, 3¾inches in diameter. 3

1 Government of Malta, ‘Archaeological Section’, Museum Annual Report 1938-39.
2 Ibid
3 Ibid



Researched and Written by: Charles Debono B.A.(Hons) History

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