Soft-core mys­ter­ies

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

En­vi­ron­men­tal analy­ses are a vi­tal part of the in­ter­na­tional FRAGSUS Pro­ject – ‘Fragility and Sus­tain­abil­ity in re­stricted is­land en­vi­ron­ments: Adap­ta­tion, Cul­ture Change and Col­lapse in pre­his­tory’.

The pro­ject is led by Queen’s Univer­sity Belfast (Prof. Caro­line Malone prin­ci­pal in­ves­ti­ga­tor), to­gether with the Univer­sity of Cam­bridge, the Univer­sity of Malta, the Su­per­in­ten­dence of Cul­tural Her­itage (Malta) and Her­itage Malta.

The Univer­sity of Malta team, led by Prof. Ni­cholas Vella and Prof. Pa­trick J. Schem­bri, in­ves­ti­gated sev­eral sed­i­ment cores taken from around the Mal­tese Is­lands.

The sed­i­ments in core sec­tions were an­a­lysed and mol­lus­can re­mains were ex­tracted, iden­ti­fied and counted. This re­search, which is a ‘work in progress’, aims to an­swer ques­tions about hu­man im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment and land­scape of the Mal­tese Is­lands, fo­cus­ing on the pre­sumed land degra­da­tion and de­for­esta­tion by the first set­tlers and on en­vi­ron­men­tal changes as­so­ci­ated with the de­cline of the Tem­ple cul­ture.

These new data have high­lighted the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, though not quite in the way we pre­vi­ously

Photo: Ka­trin Fenech

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