Condition Assessment Task Force on Site Domvs Romana, Malta

May 15th – 18th, 2024, WP3

A seven-member team from WP3 visited the so-called “Domvs Romana” in Malta in May 2024 for the second condition assessment within the STECCI Project. The team consisted of Katharina Fuchs (UAA), Marija Milchin (UAA), Farkas Pintér (UAA), Siniša Bizjak (UMAS), Krešimir Bosnić (UMAS), Samir Đug (UNSA), and Abdelrhman Fahmy (SPK). This was the second of four condition assessments planned as part of Task 3.1 of the STECCI project. All four assessments concern the so-called reference sites situated outside the STECCI regions (in Austria, Germany, France, and Malta).

The site discussed here, “Domvs Romana” in Rabat, Malta, consists of archaeological remains of a rich residential building from the Roman period (built in the 1st century BC) and a later layer from the 11th century AD consisting of Muslim graves; the site was reused as a cemetery during the time of the Fatimid Caliphate. The monuments are made of highly porous local limestone(s), most of which are identified as different qualities of Globigerina limestone.

The condition assessment included visual inspection and a range of in-situ tests, such as contact sponge and Karsten tube tests, the so-called brush test, gloss and color measurements, ultrasonic velocity, etc. Digital mapping of decay and damage patterns as well as RTI photography were used to visually capture the situation.

Contrary to the cold and snowy experience in Carinthia in April this year, the assessment in Malta was conducted in fairly warm, sometimes quite hot weather. Despite some minor problems resulting from the heat (with equipment as well as operators), all the necessary work could be completed on site in the planned time frame. Thanks to the friendly organization by our colleagues from Heritage Malta, the team also attended a conference of ICOM Malta and could have a glimpse of the digitization work at the freshly re-opened Maritime Museum of Malta. Not less importantly some time for less formal networking between members of the partner institutions on the STECCI project was also found.

Currently, the data gathered from the “Domvs Romana” is being processed, and initial conclusions are being drawn. The next stop of the Task force is the site in Germany; we are eager to see what conditions await us there. Follow up on the next report in about a month!