At Tal-Bloq

At Tal-Bloq in Għajn Tuffieħa, a rock-cut tomb was accidentally discovered, but it is not stated if the tomb was preserved or not.

The Tal-Bloq rock-cut tomb is situated in farm house and was discovered in October 1961, probably by the owner of the farm house. Its orientation was not stated and probably was cut in the rock. It had a rectangular plan and it had an unusual shape as its side jutted into the chamber. Its sill was formed by two steps leading down to the chamber floor. Its chamber had a roughly rectangular plan and it had a shelf that ran from the right side near the entrance along the back, tapering into the left wall. On the right side of the tomb a small dividing wall was left, which formed a compartment near the entrance.1

The tomb contained a number of pottery items and they included a Punic amphora, with potter’s mark and had a small opening, broad shoulders, large fine handles and it tapers towards the base. There was also a cinerary urn with long handles set low on the shoulder and stretching below the middle of the vessel.

The vessel contained cremated remains and it probably had a cover. The third pottery item was a small jarlet with cupped mouth and biconical body. Other items included a bowl with a carinated low on the body and a flaring rim. There was also a bowl, straight and near vertical walls, a flaring rimmed bowl, a carinated bowl, a plate, another bowl, another plate, a damaged bowl, and a double-nozzled lamp with rolled rim and sharply pinched spouts. A number of corpses were found who included the remains of three male were found in the tomb, aged 25-30 years, two females aged 50 years and 60 plus years and cremation remains.

The tomb was probably cut between the years 300 BC onwards and re-used several times.2

References:
1 Claudia Sagona, Ancient and Eastern Studies: The archaeology of Punic Malta, Peetars, Belgium, 2002, p 818.
2. Ibid.

 

 

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

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    About the village of Mellieha

    Mellieha is a rural village and tourist resort in the Northwestern part of Malta and derives its name from the Semitic root 'm-l-h' which in Arabic means salt. The name was probably derived from the ancient Punic and Roman salt-terns; historians indicated as lying adjacent to the large sandy bay at the foot of the village.
    Mellieha has been inhabited since early Neolithic times (3000 B.C). Several megalithic remains and tombs of this era and other primitive tools and fragments of pottery were found in various localities around this area, primarily at "il-Latnija" - a natural cavity used by several stone-age peoples - and at l-Gholja tax-Xemxija.
    During the Roman and Byzantine occupations (213B.C- 870A.D.), Mellieha's valleys were inhabited by troglodytes, who irrigated the land, adopted natural caves as their dwelling places and buried their beloved ones in Punic style burial chambers. Following the Arab conquest and during the medieval period (870-1530A.D.), the area was deserted, primarily due to the continuous raids of the Muslim corsairs.
    Notwithstanding the hardship experienced by the Maltese during the Reign of the Order of St. John (1530-1798A.D.), Mellieha's medieval chapel, dedicated to the Holy Virgin Mary, was one of the most venerated places on the island. Several distinguished persons, such as grandmaster's, kings and bishops visited the shrine and pilgrimages to the sanctuary from all over the island were held frequently.
    In the late 17th century, the Knights built several fortifications along the coast, so as to protect the inhabitants. This venture brought about the gradual repopulating of the area, mainly by those who wanted to exploit the fertile valleys and the new enterprise of tunny net fishing. Under the British, in 1844, Mellieha was established again as a parish and since then it grew up into a modern town, of circa 6,500 people.
    Today, Mellieha is one of Malta's most picturesque tourist destinations. The town centre boasts of its splendid hotels, fine restaurants and traditional cute shops. It has a unique primary school, a majestic baroque church (built in late 19th century) and various cultural organizations, including band clubs, sports clubs, an orchestra, various religious societies, a parish community centre and an environmental pressure group. Since 1993, local affairs are being run by the Mellieha Local Council, an institution made up of seven councilors, elected every three years by the people.
    Mellieha's main festive season occurs in the first two weeks of September and reaches its climax on the 8th September. During these days various cultural manifestations are held, such as musical concerts, fireworks, folk singing, art exhibitions and the traditional religious procession. The town's people, ''Il-Mellehin'', are renowned for their laborious nature, their ironic sense of humour, and their friendliness and hospitality. Those who visit us, no matter where they hail from, do not merely enjoy themselves but feel at home.

    As long as Mellieha preserves its great archaeological and historic heritage, its unique natural environment, and its traditions and costumes, its people, "Il-Mellehin", can look forward to a bright future.