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Hewwiexa Late Roman Rock-Cut Tombs

The Hewwiexa Late Roman tombs were excavated by the Niexxiegha Kulturali under the supervision of archaeologist Ernest Vella from 1996 to 1999. Although the tombs are Roman, it seems that a Punic community already existed in this area.

The Hewwiexa Late Roman tombs consists of three rock cut-tombs, a rock-cut quarry (found commonly in Maltese fields) and curt-ruts that leads to the tombs. It is a probability that the digging of this small quarry destroyed part of the tombs complex. All the three tombs had a small rock that served as a cushion for the head of the dead person. The three tombs were made to bury two persons. Unfortunately, one of them has only the floor. The others have a rectangular entrance hatch in the façade, and on them there are a number of excavated small shelves on the façade rock, where probably a number of clay lamps were put there. 1
During the first part of the excavation all the rubble and soil was elevated. During the excavation of the quarry a second tomb was found, but unfortunately only the floor exists. Between this tomb and the first tomb there is a large pit, where probably there were other tombs. Later a third tomb was found under a steep slope made up of rubble and soil. Under the soil and rubble were found a number of pottery shreds of different periods. The oldest ones were dated to the Punic Period. 2
But the others seem that are more modern. So, it is a probability that they were put there in more modern times. The Punic pottery shreds were from plates, amphorae and other recipients that are associated with tombs of this period. But the most interesting thing is that some of the found pottery fragments seem that did not form part of the mentioned items. So, they probably formed part of other clay items that are being examined by the Archaeological Museum. 3

1 Ernest Vella., “Il-Wirt arkeologiku tal-qedem”, Joseph Catania (ed), Il-Mellieha: Mal-milja taz-zmien, Mellieha Local Council, Malta, 2002, p 35.
2 Ibid, pp 35-36
3 Ibid, p 36



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

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