Għar Gerduf is a truly unique Roman burial site in Gozo, dating back to the 3rd/4th century, better known as the paleo-Christian era. It is nestled at Wied Lunzjata, within the confines of Kerċem. It has always attracted the attention of scholars interested in our islands’ archaeology. Already mentioned by Gian Franġisk Abela, the site was visited by erudite visitors who often included a description of the place as they did for Ġgantija and the Xagħra (Brochtorff) Circle. The importance of Għar Gerduf can be appreciated when one considers that it was the only Phoenician, Carthaginian and Roman site in Gozo included in The Protection of Antiquities Act of 1925. Għar Gerduf is the only late Roman and Byzantine catacomb in Gozo described by Professor Mario Buhagiar in his monumental survey of 1986 for which we know the exact whereabouts and that is still visible. In  2000 (Notice 856), MEPA scheduled Għar Gerduf and a 100 metre buffer zone as a Class A archaeological site, scheduling which is comparable to that given to Mnajdra and Ħaġar Qim, in recognition of its unique status amongst Gozitan cultural heritage monuments. A recent reassessment has claimed that Għar Gerduf has characteristics which diverge from contemporary sites in Malta claiming distinctive funerary functions in Gozo.

Recently the Ministry for Gozo acquired the ownership of this property. The area expropriated includes the footprint of the catacombs themselves together with a the front land. Għar Gerduf is in a very poor state of preservation and is at risk of imminent structural collapse. The site is to be turned into an important cultural heritage attraction open to the public and entrusted to the Cultural Heritage Directorate within the Ministry for Gozo. Through its restoration and improved accessibility, the Ministry for Gozo will also valorise the overall product of Wied il-Lunzjata, which is one of the most fertile valley systems on the island and a Natura 2000 site.

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