Tomb at Wignacourt Museum premises        

Side of Baldacchino Tomb following clearing by Qrendi Scouts
In the beginning of December 1999, the Grupp Arkeologiku Malti with the valuable assistance of the Qrendi Boy scouts started the clearing of a Roman catacomb in the premises of the Wignacourt Museum at Rabat. 

The catacomb had its access near the stairs leading to a World War II shelter. On clearing the accumulated rubble, two saddle baldacchino tombs, a window tomb and a loculus were found. An exedra with a funerary triclinium was also identified. 

The original entrance of the catacomb led into one side of a rectangular space. The sides containing the opening of the baldacchino tombs and the funerary triclinium border the remaining sides of this space.  

The illumination of this area was provided by lamps placed in six lampholes above the exedra. 


Original Entrance of Catacomb
Lamp-holes above unexcavated exedra  It appears that the catacomb was looted in antiquity. At a later date the catacomb received a soil infill from the original access. 

The catacomb was again discovered during excavation of the nearby shelter and was used to contain the rubble produced during the digging. Fortunately enough the tombs were preserved. 

Evidence of extensive plastering, finishing and size indicate that the baldacchino to the left of the entrance was the most important tomb in the complex. 

No inscriptions were noted in the catacomb. 

'Plaster' covering visible on Baldacchino Tomb
View of Tomb Chamber (unexcavated but already disturbed) The contents of both Baldacchino tombs were disturbed but still contain human bones. No pottery was observed inside the chambers. 

Work on the catacombs continues under the direction of the Museum authorities who are working on the preservation and a more complete excavation of the complex


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(Page brought up by courtesy of Rev. Fr. John Azzopardi)