Shedding light on Medieval Malta

For several years, the medieval past of the Maltese Islands has suffered from a lacuna of information. This was primarily due to the scanty historical documentation available about that era. Archaeological investigations which cover this period are now filling in the gaps, thereby contributing to further knowledge. The new exhibition by Heritage Malta Core and Periphery: Mdina and Safi in the 9th and 10th centuries is the first of a series which will be shedding further light on this fascinating epoch.

In collaboration with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the University of Malta, this exhibition presents some of the results which were obtained from two rescue archaeological excavations that were carried out in Mdina in 2008, and in Safi in 2015. Both excavations yielded precious archaeological information on Malta’s Dark Ages – a period of dramatic historical change that saw the end of Byzantine domination and the arrival of the Arabs in our islands.

Further investigations, research and analysis of these findings have made it possible to exhibit for the first time, a ceramic typology for the 9th and 10th centuries – one of the least understood, yet crucial moments of change in the Maltese history.

Aiming to introduce a wider discussion about the society and the economy of Malta in this period, the dual nature of urban versus rural life make this exhibition even more intriguing. In fact, the findings which represent the medieval life of the urban community in Mdina can be contrasted with those of the outlying agricultural settlement of Ħal Safi.

This exhibition dedicated to Medieval Malta is being hosted by the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta and it will be open to the public until 31st January 2019. Admission to the exhibition is free of charge.

A publication by Heritage Malta with detailed information relating to the 9th and 10th century Medieval Malta, and including studies of the archaeological excavations in Mdina and Ħal Safi, is available for sale from all Heritage Malta sites and museums.