The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage has just concluded its first ever physical event for European Archaeology Days, which took place on the 17th of June, 2023.
The event, titled 𝐀𝐛𝐨𝐯𝐞 & 𝐁𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐰 𝐒𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐚: 𝐀 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐥 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞, was hosted at the Salina Nature Reserve in collaboration with Heritage Malta and BirdLife, and celebrated Malta’s natural and cultural heritage with a specific focus on Salina as a historic natural reserve and cultural treasure.
The event kicked off with a talk by BirdLife to set the context for the event and elaborate on the connection between the archaeological importance of Salina and its natural heritage. This was followed by another talk by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Heritage Malta’s Underwater Cultural Heritage Unit which introduced visitors to the vast topic of Malta’s underwater cultural heritage.
The visitors then had the opportunity to participate in a special Virtual Reality experience, provided by Heritage Malta, which sought to illuminate participants on the expanses of Malta’s underwater cultural heritage and to stimulate the thrill of the underwater investigative experience. A post-excavation processing, consisting of the desalinisation of an oil lamp which was recovered recently from the depths of Salina, also formed part of an exhibition of artefacts found underwater.
The event was set to explore both Salina’s underwater cultural heritage as well as its terrestrial natural and cultural heritage. Hence, the Superintendence had also set up a station for post-excavation processing of Roman pottery that were recently recovered during trenching works at Triq is-Salini in Naxxar. The artefacts, consisting of a large bowl, a cooking pot with lid, a small plate and a jug, were therefore on exhibition at the event and undergoing a post-excavation analysis by an archaeologist of the Superintendence.
In addition, tours of the Salina Nature Reserve were ongoing throughout the day by BirdLife Malta, intended to educate visitors on the natural and ecological importance of Salina as a habitat for local bird species, as well as draw in the anthropological and cultural heritage significance of the salt pans.
A stand for BCTHubs was also set up by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage to promote the EU funded project and educate visitors on its scope and goals. The project’s innate connection to the underwater experience and underwater cultural heritage blended seamlessly with the main theme of the event. The stand proved to be successful in spreading the word and disseminating promotional material for further reach and accessibility to the general public.
Children’s activities, consisting of a mini-salt harvesting area, was also ongoing throughout the day.
In summary, this year’s rendition of European Archaeology Days proved to be a brilliant success, which not only combined education and fun for its visitors, but also serves as inspiration for the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage to continue striving for the protection and promotion of our cultural heritage.