"DIN IL-GIMGHA" TEAM
The assignment set was to film, for MTV's Maltese programme "Din il-Gimgha" (This Week) the archeological remains found in a one-time cave dwelling dating about 1,450 BC. The cave is buried under some 100 feet of rock debris on a steep slope - technically known as a scree!
|"It is somewhere
between map reference 446679 and 457671 if you are using the new 2 1/2 inch map" said
the leader of the group of cave explorers who were responsible for locating the site not
so long ago. "It is important that we make an early start", he continued.
"Remember there is a lot of heavy photographic equipment to be carried down -
and of course up again."
The next day the MTV "Din
Il-Gimgha" team consisting of Lino Spiteri, Producer of the programme, together with
Charles Grech, Chief Film Cameraman, and Walter Xerri, Assistant Cameraman set out for
what eventually turned out to be the South West part of the Island. In fact on the cliff
edge of Dingli cliffs, some 800 feet above sea level.
The equipment was lowered down the
cliff edge and the team followed suit. This was described as "child's
play" compared with what was to follow.
It was as if one had entered a limbo of inter-connected labyrinths
of all sizes
This was the sort of rugged environment that the team found themselves in and it meant setting about things in a very methodical way, which of course caused delay. Equipment required careful handling. Carrying a 20-LB haversack full of photographic lighting equipment was by no means an easy task.
It was evident that the caves and
connections were rough clearances left behind between the irregular coralline rocks of
which the scree is composed.
It was here that rope-ladders and
safety lines were used. Amongst the equipment were small acetylene lamps which helped
everyone see where they were going as the team groped its way in the pitch darkness. After
even an hour's 'journeying' - 50 feet or so down - the team had a brief rest. We had
a good look around us and we saw how precariously some of the boulders seemed to be
balanced. Mr. Mallia pointed out with great conviction that the "irdum"
(scree) at Dingli was the sort of place which could change considerable with the faintest
earthquake registered in Malta, with hardly anything to show for it on the surface!
Filming the Findings
The settlement at Ghar Mirdum
(meaning Buried Cave in Maltese) is estimated to have lasted from 1450 B.C. until the
arrival of the Phoenicians.
The theory of these findings is that at some pre-historic time a community of peasants with their domestic animals chose some of the larger caves on the Dingli heights facing the sea as their home. the same springs of fresh water which they tapped at the level of the blue clay for their daily uses, gradually undermined the limestone brow of the cliffs by washing out too much of the underlying clay, until the overhang slowly worked into a cataclismic show-down, and the whole area, with the folk and all they possessed, came tumbling down.
The above is a verbatim
transcription of the article that appeared in the 'Gwida'
An interview with Ernest German on Malta Rediffusion, and the showing of the television film followed some days later.
On Tuesday July 6th 1965, an article appeared in another edition of the magazine:
(The 50th Edition of "This Week" - by Lino Spiteri)
Translation of the
Copyright © P Calleja-Gera: All rights reserved.