Alternattiva Demokratika said yesterday it was concerned at the fate of the Punic tombs recovered recently in Bulebel during works on the new St James's Hospital.

Eight damaged tombs, estimated to date back to the Punic age, were discovered early last month during excavation works on the private hospital development site in Żejtun.

Investigation on the tombs are being done by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage which said on Monday that "it is too early to tell" whether the tombs would be deemed to be worth protecting.

AD chairman Arnold Cassola said that, while the fate of the site was being assessed on the basis of an evaluation of whether the tombs were intact or not, such ancient sites were never found intact.

"It is important to allow such sites to be fully investigated and assessed according to their importance to the Maltese as a whole. Only a few Maltese would benefit from the envisaged private hospital to be built in the area."

The project happens to belong to one of Prof. Cassola's political rivals, Azzjoni Nazzjonali leader Josie Muscat, who has been working on the project for the past eight years.

Prof. Cassola emphasised that AD believed this Punic site is an essential part of Maltese history and culture, especially because it turned out to be a unique site to the Maltese islands and the Żejtun area. "Where else do we find a group of eight Punic tombs in this area," he asked.

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