Research on Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum was carried out in a collaboration between the University of Malta and Heritage Malta. The multidisciplinary study was led by Dr Pierre-Sandre Farrugia, Denis Cutajar and Professor Alfred Micallef from the Department of Geosciences at the University of Malta in collaboration with Heritage Malta.
In a statement, the University of Malta, explained that the research equipped researchers with the possibility of studying the effect of any planned intervention prior to its implementation.
The research included the development of a 3D computer model of the Hypogeuim which is capable of predicting how the air flows within the site. It further explained that the model could be used to investigate how external factors, such as the presence of people or the change in the ventilation system, could affect parameters that are linked to the deterioration of the site without the need of in situ experiments.
The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is one of only three World Heritage Sites that are found in Malta. The Hypogeum consists of a subterranean network of inter-connected chambers and passageways that date back to the period 4000-2500 B.C. Once rediscovered again in the 20th Century however the site had already been exposed to problems related to urbanisation such as seepage of water. The Hypogeum has been subjected to numerous conservation studies aimed at preserving the site.
The work on the Hypogeum was partially funded by the Strategic Educational Pathways Scholarship (Malta) which was part-financed by the European Union European Social Fund (ESF) under Operational Programme II Cohesion Policy 2007-2013. The 3D model of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and other equipment was supported by a grant from Norway through the Norwegian Financial Mechanism. The analysis of data obtained from such equipment collected over the period of one year from May 2011 to May 2012 was also supported through the same grant the University of Malta explained. Purchase of further equipment and study was supported by Evolve Ltd, Eltek and Tobit Curteis Associates.