Evaluating the performance of protective shelters: challenges and future directions

Rosangela Faieta and Reuben Grima, University of Malta

The number of protective shelters implemented on archaeological sites has proliferated in recent decades. The assessment of their performance has progressed rather more unevenly. As increasingly sophisticated tools for environmental assessment and conservation science are developed and become more widely available, new opportunities to make better informed assessments of the performance of protective shelters are opening up. On the other hand, innovative applications and interdisciplinary approaches in the context of evaluating and monitoring shelter performance continue to be developed and disseminated.

This round table session will provide a forum to share recent experiences in the evaluation of the performance of archaeological shelters, while also posing questions about possible future directions. What kinds of legacy data gathered before the implementation of a shelter were the most helpful? Which other data do we wish had been gathered at that stage? Are there blind spots in our current assessment programmes, and can they be addressed?

General structure of the round table (in progress)

  • Introduction: 5 min introduction of the topic and of the presenters;
  • Presentations: 5 min approx by each panelist (tot 20min);
  • Question time: (20 min);
  • Final round: (15 min).


Rosangela Faieta is Research Support Officer at the Department of Conservation & Built Heritage at the University of Malta and is part of a multidisciplinary team working on the evaluation of the performance of the shelters over the Maltese Megalithic Structures. She obtained her Master's degree in Archaeology at the University of Tuscia Viterbo, Italy (2015) and she followed the Master's course Methods, Materials and Technologies for Cultural Heritage at the University Roma Tre (2017). She is currently a PhD student at the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Malta. Her research interests span the broad field of applied science on archaeological materials, with a focus on the analysis of weathering processes of limestone materials exposed to the marine environment.

Reuben Grima is an Associate Professor in the Department of Conservation & Built Heritage at the University of Malta, lecturing mainly in cultural heritage management. He read for his PhD in archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL. From 2003 to 2011, he served as Heritage Malta’s Senior Curator responsible for Malta’s two prehistoric World Heritage Sites, namely the the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Megalithic Temples of Malta, also serving as Project Leader for the ERDF project to shelter Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, and as a member of the Scientific Committee for the Conservation of the Megalithic Temples. His current research interests include cultural landscapes, the history of archaeology and archaeological sites, and public engagement with the past.


Univ Malta