Lab Projects

Archaeological Park and Museum of the Roman Domus of Rabat at Malta

Access 3D Lab is partnering with Dr. Davide Tanasi to undertake the virtualization of the Roman Domus related archaeological park of Rabat, in Malta as preparation of an international plurennial archaeological excavation project of the site.

Mosaics from Rabat domus

Late Hellenistic mosaics from Rabat, Malta.

 In 1881, the remains of a large peristyle house containing rooms adorned with very fine mosaic floors in a late Hellenistic style were uncovered a Rabat (Malta). On the basis of the style of the mosaics, the original construction of the building was dated to shortly before, or shortly after, the beginning of the first century BCE, during the conflict between Marius and Sulla. It had several rooms built around a peristyle with Doric columns supporting architraves in local limestone.

Archaeological remains of the Domus Romana at Rabat

Archaeological Remains of the Rabat Domus.

The floors of the peristyle corridors, open courtyard, and surrounding rooms of the Rabat domus were decorated with mosaics of the finest quality. The domus also shows fine painted wall plaster imitating coloured marbles and showing partly stylized architectural elements which would place them somewhere between the 1st and 2nd Pompeian Styles. The Rabat domus survived in the same form for about a century and a half. Toward the mid-first century CE, it must have been occupied by a person of some high political standing who undertook the expense of adorning it with a cycle of fine portrait statues representing the emperor Claudius and members of his family. The Rabat domus became disused sometime in the second half of the first century CE. In the 11th century CE, a Muslim cemetery was established on the remains of the domus.

Islamic funerary inscriptions in Malta

Inscriptions from an 11th century Muslim cemetery on the site of the Rabat Domus.

After the domus was first excavated, a museum was built on the site of the peristyle of the house in order to preserve its mosaics. The museum opened in February 1882, and it was the first building in Malta that was constructed specifically to house a museum of a particular archaeological site. The museum was originally known as the Museum of Roman Antiquities. In 1922, the museum was enlarged to designs by the architect Galizia and a neoclassical façade and a large display room were added.  

Museum of Roman Antiquites at the Rabat domus

Museum of Roman Antiquities at the Rabat Domus.