Roman Structural Remains Discovered Close to Domvs Romana

Parts of three walls, almost three metres deep, as well as other structural remains, have been discovered during excavations in an area adjacent to the Domvs Romana in Rabat. Although evidence suggests domestic use, the area uncovered so far is still too small to confirm with certainty that it is part of a house. 

Excavations will continue next year in order to shed more light on the remains. The discovery was made during this summer’s excavation season for the Melite Civitas Romana Project, an international research project centred around the Domvs Romana and surrounding lands. The project is led by Heritage Malta, with David Cardona as its representative and Lead Director, in collaboration with the Institute for Digital Exploration (IDEX) of the University of South Florida, with Dr Davide Tanasi as Co-director, and a team of Australian and British archaeologists called Intercontinental Archaeology, with Robert Brrown, Andrew Wilkinson and Dr Benedict Lowe as Co-directors. 

The latest discovery may be described as part of a puzzle with many pieces still missing. Its contribution is, however, on multiple levels. First and foremost, it helps in the understanding of the excavations held in the area by Sir Temi Zammit between 1920 and 1925. Secondly, it adds more data on our understanding of the structures in the area. Finally, it is yet another step forward in trying to understand how these structures fitted within the overall layout and the everyday life of the ancient Roman town of Melite. 

The walls were discovered at the back of the Domvs Romana but works were also carried out in other areas, with discoveries and stratigraphy that will provide further data about the town of Melite, evidence for which is scant and highly scattered. In other areas, the excavations were targeted at re-discovering the trenches excavated by Zammit, in an attempt to re-evaluate the interpretations given a hundred years ago. All of these are being carefully investigated and, most importantly, documented using different methodologies, including digital means such as 3D scanning and photogrammetry. 

It is thanks to these that the discoveries can be studied away from the site.

The site is currently partially backfilled to protect it from damage until the next excavation season to be held in 2024. Once the area is fully researched and documented, Heritage Malta, in conjunction with its project partners, conservators and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, will determine the best way that the site is to be protected.