Harsien Patrimonju Mosti


There are two known catacombs within the boundaries of Fort Mosta.
One lies within its grounds while another is found in a cave just beneath the exterior wall overlooking the Burmarrad plain.

The latter bears tomb and niche types pertinent to a very early stage, known as neo-punic, hence one of the oldest catacombs to be found in Malta.
Pottery sherds from the tombs, within the cave, and in the immediate vicinity suggest usage of this site in the 1st Century BC, conversion to Christianity around the 2nd Century AD, and progressive use until the 5th / 6th Century.

The cave itself spans 40 x 20 feet, with two additional 10-foot recesses at the flanks. Access in though two doorways cut into the rock face, but a shaft in the roof might have been the original entrance. Several banks on the wall sides and what appears to be a hearth suggest it might have served as a dwelling rather than solely a resting place for the dead.

There are seven tombs in all, as well niches, a (Neo-)Punic stilted arch,  and traces of an Agape denoting Christian use.

There is an other interesting Catacomb within the precincts of Fort Mosta which was originally a Punic shaft tomb.
This tomb underwent considerable modification over time, with features such as an Agape table typical of Christian custom.
It is one of the finest examples of transformation from a tomb to a Christian catacomb. It remained in use until the 6th Century AD.

Notes & References:
Ancient Malta by Harrison Lewis
Photos: Temple Rescue Malta & Josef Laspina