Melite Civitas Romana Project

Roman Domus of Rabat in Malta


Overhead view of Malta site

Melite Civitas Romana is an international interdisciplinary collaborative excavation and remote sensing project of the Roman Domus of Rabat and of the nearby urban district of the ancient city of Melite, in Malta, run in partnership with Heritage Malta, University of North Alabama and Intercontinental Archaeology. In 2019, a team of USF IDEx completed the virtualization of the entire complex of the Domus including the related Museum and its collection of Roman antiquities using a combination of techniques such as terrestrial laserscanning, ground and drone digital photogrammetry and close range 3D scanning in order to produce boost the public engagement with the Melite Civitas Romana project. At the same time, geophysical prospections via ground-penetrating radar where carried out to identify new areas for the excavations. 

student photographing building interior


Student photographing site


cataloguing equipment


equipment set up for artifacts


equipment set up in ruins site


Davide photographing vase



After the break imposed by the global pandemic, in 2022 and 2023, the first two excavation campaigns, after a long hiatus, were carried out focusing of four areas surrounding the Roman Domus, being USF IDEx responsible for Area 3. 


Highlights of 2022 Melita Civitas Romana project


Highlights of 2023 Melita Civitas Romana project


3d digitization of the Domus romana Museum Collection

An important part of the work conducted by USF IDEx in 2019 was the 3D digitization of the highlights of the Domus Romana museum containing objects ranging primarily from the Punic to Roman period (Figures 25 and 26), with a small selection of medieval materials related to the Islamic period of Malta.

128 Roman artefacts among the most emblematic were selected for 3D digitization via structured light 3D scanning and digital photogrammetry. The pieces include, 7 bone objects, 2 ceramic moulds, 6 mosaics/emblemata, 3 metal items, 3 coroplastics, 6 elements of fresco, 9 stone items, 11 elements of statuary, and 48 ceramic objects. In addition 33 Medieval gravestones from the Islamic cemetery set on the ruins of the Domvs in later times.

Further Readings:

R. Brown, D. Cardona, D. Lowe, D. Tanasi, A. Wilkinson 2021, The Melite Civitas Romana Project: the case for a modern exploration of the Domus Romana, Malta, Open Archaeology 7, pp. 1618-1635.   

D. Tanasi, S. Hassam, K. Kingsland, P. Trapani, M. King, D. Cali 2021, Melite Civitas Romana in 3D: Virtualization Project of the Archaeological Park and Museum of the Domus Romana of Rabat, Malta, in D. Tanasi, D. Cardona, R. Brown (eds), At the Crossroads of the Mediterranean: Malta and the Central Mediterranean during the Roman Empire, Open Archaeology 7.1 (special issue), De Gruyter Open Access, pp. 51-83.

R. Brown, D. Cardona, L. De Giorgi, G. Leucci, B. Lowe, R. Persico, D. Tanasi, A. Wilkinson 2021, Melite Civitas Romana: GPR prospections at the Roman Domus of Mdina (Malta), Exploration Geophysics 52.6, pp. 612-623. 


3D Resources:

Aerial digital photogrammetry of the site

USF IDEx Area 3 excavation trench 2003 in 3D