2020 marked 100 years since Sir Temi Zammit started excavations at the Domvs Romana, 2021 marks the 140th anniversary of the Domvs’s accidental discovery and 2022 will commemorate 140 years since the Domvs was opened to the public as a museum. However what we see today when we visit the Domvs is a far cry from what this luxurious dwelling must have looked like, roughly between the second half of the first century BC and the first half of the first century AD.
David Cardona, senior curator for Phoenician, Roman and medieval sites at Heritage Malta, said that some workers were planting trees at what we now know as Howard Gardens, during which a spade made a jarring sound when it hit a hard surface. Startled, the workers stopped to alert their superiors, unaware of the marvellous discovery that was about to unfold. Following the incident during the tree planting at Howard Gardens, Antonio Annetto Caruana, the librarian of the Bibliotheca and curator of the archaeological collection housed in it, was entrusted with the investigation. Most of the areas of this rich Roman townhouse were discovered then and a museum was built to protect the mosaics and house Malta’s Roman antiquities.
Unfortunately a good portion of the house, as well as other surrounding structures and tombs, were completely lost when the British services cut the road leading to the Museum Railway Station in 1899.
The site underwent further investigations in 1920-25 by Sir Temi with the help of Robert V. Galea, Harris Dunscombe Colt and Louis Upton Way. Works extended in all directions of the site and uncovered a substantial number of Islamic burials above the remains of other small Roman houses.
The owner of this Domvs may have been an important public figure. What historians can deduce quite accurately, however, is that this was no humble abode. This was the home of someone wealthy enough to be in the top social stratum, someone with high social connections in Rome, as evidenced by two statues showing members of Emperor Claudius’s family carved in fine marble.
There is so much more to be discovered at the Domvs Romana, such an incredible wealth of artefacts that yet make up only a fraction of our unique cultural heritage. The sheer fact that we can set foot in this house some 2,000 years into its existence is a wonder in itself and all the more reason for Heritage Malta to celebrate its discovery’s anniversary as befits such a remarkable event in our history.
Read more: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/inside-rabats-glorious-domvs-romana.851603?fbclid=IwAR0NWncyUbsf9A_Ox3dGFhAfJhL4EecSXMQDsNVYPVxFvBbAJSqzX0sDapsMattia Preti’s masterpiece Boethius and Philosophy returns to Malta after a hundred years
After over a hundred years of it being missing from Malta, the famous Mattia Preti masterpiece, named Boethius and Philosophy, will be returning to the island. The Maltese Government acquired the 17th century oil on canvas painting for the sum of €1.3 million after it had disappeared mysteriously from the Grandmaster’s Palace at the end of the 19th century. It is believed that the painting was commissioned by Andrea di Giovanni, Knight of the Order of Malta.
It was purchased after it turned up at Sotheby’s Old Masters Auction in New York and will now be added to Malta’s National Collection.
Minister for National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government José Herrera, whilst thanking the Board of Governors of the National Development Social Fund and Heritage Malta, stated that this acquisition is proof of government’s commitment to continue to protect and enrich the cultural and artistic heritage of our country.
Free Entrance to six Heritage Malta sites on weekends
During the month of June and starting from this coming weekend, Heritage Malta will be re-opening six of its sites and museums, free of charge to the public.
The six sites are:
- Fort St Elmo
- Fort St Angelo
- Ħaġar Qim
- Mnajdra Temples
- Tarxien & Ġgantija Temples
- National Museum of Archaeology
The Heritage Malta CEO Noel Zammit and chairman Anthony Scicluna, said the sites will adhere to the Health & Safety guidelines issued by the health authorities amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.Malta Offers Travelers Virtual Visits
With a global pandemic going on, a collaboration between Heritage Malta and tech giant Google is now giving internet users the unique opportunity to virtually visit several of the agency’s national museums and sites through the online platform Google Arts & Culture.
This collaboration brings Malta’s cultural sites at par with other major international institutions, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the Van Gogh Museum in Netherlands, the National Gallery of Arts in Washington, Museo Frida Kahlo in Mexico, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and many more. Virtual tours will immerse the viewer into the solemn grounds of the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, walk you along the unique artifacts exhibited at the National Museums of Archaeology in Malta and Gozo, impress you with the exquisite colorful mosaic floors at the Domvs Romana, or accompany you through the turbulent times of World War II, at the National War Museum in Fort St. Elmo.
Heritage Malta invites the public to open these virtual doors to amazing discoveries, and to strive to visit them personally once the pandemic is over.
And if you’re a lover of opera, you’re in for another treat. Maltese Tenor Joseph Calleja will be taking viewers request to sing arias on his Facebook page, since there has been a stop to all travel.
And, once people globally aren’t quarantined anymore, there are great reasons to visit Malta.