Heritage Malta and the University of South Florida have signed a Memorandum of Understanding covering a period of three years.

The MoU, signed by Dr Davide Tanasi and Noel Zammit on behalf of the University of South Florida and Heritage Malta respectively, provides for data sharing and for the exploration of areas of common research that can be carried out for mutual benefit.

Through this agreement, the libraries administered by each party, including those online, shall be made available for reference to their identified respective staff members, researchers, and bona fide students and interns.

Heritage Malta and the University of South Florida have also agreed to promote the furtherance of each other’s academic and strategic objectives by making available their respective expertise, networking and training resources or faculties.

The University of South Florida is a centre of excellence with regard to digitization techniques and methodologies for the cultural heritage sector. On the other hand, Heritage Malta is the national aggregator for cultural heritage data and its Digitization Unit is entrusted with implementing the digitization policy of the national collection. Thus both organizations stand to gain from knowledge sharing, capacity building, reciprocal residency opportunities and the development of joint projects related to digitization.

Both parties are currently involved in the ongoing Melite Civitas Romana Project at the Domvs Romana and its environs in Rabat. This is an international interdisciplinary collaborative excavation project between Heritage Malta, the Institute for Digital Exploration of the University of South Florida (IDEx), and Intercontinental Archaeology. The international scope of the project is evidenced by a number of archaeologists, volunteers, and students from Malta, Australia, the UK, and the USA working on the various excavations in the area.

Heritage Malta is involving the Maltese and Gozitan communities in the project by encouraging local participation, with several places being given free to Maltese volunteers, visits by primary school children, a special open day for the public, as well as the opportunity for students of Archaeology from the University of Malta to participate in the excavations as part of their course. The Melite Civitas Romana Project also emphasises the importance of this collaboration for Maltese immigrants in Australia.

During this five-year project several exciting discoveries have come to light which will be published once further studies have been conducted.

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