Open Day at Malta’s Oldest Monument – Għar Dalam

On Sunday 7th October, Heritage Malta will be opening Għar Dalam Cave and Museum in Birżebbuġa free of charge to the general public. This is a great opportunity to visit one of Malta’s oldest prehistoric sites.

Created during the early phases of the Ice Age by rushing water penetrating into narrow crevices and dissolving long stretches of rock, Għar Dalam is 144 metres deep, although only around 60 metres of it is accessible to the public, since the rest is difficult to access and hosts an endemic species of Wood Louse Armadillidum ghardalamensis, to which the cave has been afforded extra legal protection as a Natura 2000 site.

When it was excavated, five main layers of interest were revealed. The lowest one being a clay layer highlighting the absence of any animal species. This is followed by the “Hippopotamus Layer”containing an extensive amount of animal bones which were deposited there by water during the Pleistocene era, around 500,000 years ago. The third layer consists of pebbles with sparse animal bones pertaining to species from the earlier layer. This is topped by what is known as the “Deer Layer”, dating from 25,000 to 18,000 years ago. A sterile layer corresponding to a volcanic ash layer present outside, lies over the deer layer and the top layer. The Cultural Layer holds the earliest evidence of human presence in Malta, some 7,400 years ago.

Visitors can explore the palaeontological remains which were found inside Għar Dalam at the site’s Museum that houses a Victorian style exhibition and a didactic display. The bone remains of small-sized elephants and hippopotami are among the most notable exhibits.

A guided tour in Maltese will take place at 10:30hrs, whilst a guided tour in English will be available at 14:30hrs.

Opening times: 09.00 till 17.00hrs (last admission at 16.30hrs).

 

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