Team of Cave Explorers
from 1st Sliema Scout Group.
LtoR: Bernard Storace / Paul Calleja-Gera / Vincent Bugeja / Ernest German
Vincent Sciberras (front)
- Other members appear on photographs in the website -
Bone Handled Bonze Dagger
Has now been chosen to represent one of Malta's 100 Best Objects - see Facebook Page
Secrets of a Three Thousand Year Old
Some three thousand five hundred years ago, when you could establish a residence of your choice without so much as planning permission, or even a mortgage, families found refuge in caves. This was true as much for Neanderthal man as for the period this Website is all about - the Bronze Age in Malta, which is about 1450 years Before Christ.
This is the story of one such family, or perhaps even a community, who may have taken up residence in one of the many cliff face caves on the heights of Dingli, Malta, facing the Mediterranean Sea and the tiny island of Filfla. Dawn and sunset must have conjured a very attractive view from their cave entrance, and would have been the envy of their neighbours further inland.
The limestone structure of the Maltese Islands is ideal for cave formation by wind or water. However, the limestone layers, upper and lower coralline, have a sandwich filling separating them, which is made up of blue clay and green sand. The impervious blue clay layer is what retains Malta's meagre water supply. This very water, gradually washing away the clay and sand from under the upper coralline layer the caves are made of, resulted in a catastrophe which spelt the end of not just this community, but probably others living nearby.
One day the weight of the cave roof could no longer be supported and it all came tumbling down, burying everything as it lay. The catastrophe must have been quite sudden and thorough, as was proven by the unique discovery of a small unbaked clay pot which must have been left on the spot awaiting hardening to a leather condition before baking. This, at least, is my belief.
How the Cave was
Why a Website
(Contents of the site are ongoing as become available...)
Paul Calleja-Gera - August 2002
MALTA is a jewel of an Island in the
Mediterranean Sea midway between
Italy in Europe, and Libya in North Africa, with smaller sister islands of
Gozo and Comino to its North West.
It is just 245.7 Square Kilometers in area, with a population of 382,500.
- Lower Coralline Limestone
- Globigerina Limestone
- Blue Clay
- Green Sand
- Upper Coralline Limestone
Cave explorers - a thought to ponder:
"We are all, in some respects, caves. Our interiors are dark, confused, ancient mazes, difficult and sometimes dangerous to penetrate, but often containing unexpected, spectacular scenery. In either kind of labyrinth, those who obediently stop where reason and instinct command them to, never make it to the best and highest places. Inevitably they will be tormented by the existance of unexplored regions, doomed to a fate worse than risk, to the shame of knowing they are less than they might have been, lower than they could be... Christmas 1970.
Copyright © P Calleja-Gera: All rights reserved.