A teenage high school student who graffitied a 5,000-year-old Stone Age fertility temple by scratching the initials ‘B’ and ‘H’ has been given a two-year jail sentence.
The 18-year-old had been caught red-handed by security guards at the UNESCO World Heritage site in Malta, one of the oldest built structures ever found.
His sentence was suspended by judges for four years, but he will have to pay a EUR 15,000 (GBP 13,287) fine.
The court heard how the student – from the city of Varese, a city in north-western Lombardy, in northern Italy – had vandalised the Ggantija site, a megalithic complex dating back up to 5,600 years to the Neolithic era, on Monday, 6th March.
Ggantija – on Gozo island in Malta – is widely regarded as one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
The young man, who has not been named and has already returned to Italy, pleaded guilty, according to local media.
Heritage Malta, the Maltese government agency in charge of administering the site, said: “Heritage Malta unreservedly condemns an act of vandalism perpetrated yesterday in Ggantija, where an Italian student caused irreparable damage by engraving letters on one of the main doors of this neolithic monument declared a Unesco World Heritage Site.”
The Ggantija temples, which are older than the pyramids in Egypt, were part of a ceremonial site used in a fertility rite.
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