The iconic marker which used to point the way to a heritage trail within an archaeologically important site in Xemxija has been destroyed. This comes just months after a private property label appeared on it and the surrounding site was demolished.
The 1.4-metre-tall structure was reduced to a pile of rocks a bit over a week ago, according to a local resident who walks the trail regularly, sharing, ‘This is the second time I’ve reported vandalism of the site. I’ve no idea who could have done it but between the motorcycles and the hunters it has become a nightmare up there’.
The renowned track is a remnant of a Roman road that dates back to the 1st century AD, according to the Malta Tourism Authority, and includes Roman baths, Punic tombs, and ancient beehives.
Last July, crosses, RTO signs, and ‘private property’ labels appeared on the ancient road and marker, consequently sparking anger from residents, who reported the damage to authorities.
A local resident and activist, Robert Fenech, has been pressing for the local council to act upon this and revealed how shocked he was to see that ancient remains could be vandalised without consequence.
He shared, ‘The signs were painted on a piece of Maltese heritage dating back to Roman times – the actual rocks forming the ancient road. It’s astounding to think that the full force of the law was not brought down on the person responsible.’
‘Now, they’ve taken to actively destroying signs guiding people to the Roman baths further up the road. I’m calling on the local council to do all it can to protect the unique historical legacy of St Paul’s Bay’.
Since the site is not government-owned, it is unclear who has the title to the land. The heritage trail is also now managed by the hunters’ association and a near-by resident shared that there are tension and intimidation present between residents and hunters, primarily during hunting season.
The local council or the president of the hunters’ association are yet to comment.