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27 Febrero 2010

Heritage foundation promotes building of drystone walls

The Times of Malta (Malta) [Crónica]

A 300-metre rubble wall, that flanks the grounds surrounding Fort Rinella in Kalkara, is being rebuilt using traditional drystone building techniques and materials. The wall, estimated to be about 100 years old, was in a bad state and had been dismantled to be rebuilt by craftsmen Simon Buttigieg and David Tanti. Mr Buttigieg, a history teacher, and Mr Tanti, a nurse, are reusing stones from the original wall as well as stones that were recycled from other original rubble walls.

Mario Farrugia, CEO at Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna, said the work forms part of a large-scale project aimed at enhancing the area and protecting the historic fort from unauthorized entry and repeated acts of vandalism.

The project, which started last year, will see the vast open space transformed into a display arena where large-scale historical festivals and re-enactments can be held on a regular basis to compliment the overall visitor experience at Fort Rinella, Mr Farrugia said.

Fondazzjoni Wirt Artna is using this initiative to promote the age-old craft of drystone wall building as originally practiced. Drystone building techniques are amongst the oldest form of construction in human history. It mainly consists of erecting structures such as walls and huts using only gravity and friction as binding agents. The use of drystone walls in the Maltese landscape was crucial to help extend what little natural arable land existed on the islands.

The project is being sponsored by Bank of Valletta.

 

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