Punic tomb removed from Central Link site for conservation

A Punic-era tomb discovered as a result of excavations related to the Central Link Project in Attard has been removed intact so that it may be conserved, in an operation that cost over €250,000.

Specialised contractors had to be brought in for the operation, which was overseen by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage.

The operation involved temporarily coating the inside of the tomb with a geotextile specialised material and filling it with expansion foam and expanded polystyrene. A wide and deep trench of around one story was then cut in the rock a little further away from the remains. The tomb block was then strengthened through a concrete and metal belt, and subsequently cut off from the bottom and placed on metal beams.

The tomb was subsequently lifted and moved to a place identified by the superintendence, where it is to remain accessible.

The site was visited by Culture Minister José Herrera and Transport Minister Ian Borg, with Herrera expressing his pleasure at the tomb’s preservation.

“It is important to strike a balance between our infrastructural needs and our heritage and environmental needs,” he maintained.

On his part, Borg said that such discoveries were not a coincidence, stating that work was carried out carefully under the guidance of the superintendence.

The Central Link Project – which proved to be a great source of controversy over the take-up of fresh land – involves the rebuilding of the arterial route between Mrieħel and Ta’ Qali. However, the works will also lead to the removal of the existing direct route between Attard and Żebbuġ, lengthening the journey between the two neighbouring communities.