A fossil collection of Quaternary (Ice Age) bones, dating back thousands of years, has been officially handed over by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage to Heritage Malta, to be included in the national collection.
The collection, comprising around 21 items, includes elephant bones and teeth as well as hippopotami teeth. Some of these items have been traced to Ta’ Żuta (limits of Ħad-Dingli) and Għar Dalam.
The fossils had been intended to be auctioned but were requisitioned and retrieved following a Police investigation. They will now be part of the national collection, ensuring their long-term conservation, care and controlled public access.
Cultural heritage in Malta was statutorily regulated in 1910 by the Protection of Antiquities Ordinance which was replaced in 1925 by the Antiquities (Protection) Act. These have since been replaced by the Cultural Heritage Act of 2002, updated in 2019, which states that any person who, even by chance, discovers objects of cultural heritage value is to inform the national regulator immediately.