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Malta National Museum of Archaeology

Malta National Museum of Archaeology

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Located in the Auberge de Provence, house to the Knights of the Order of St John, Malta’s National Museum of Archaeology exhibits an impressive and intriguing collection of artefacts dating back as far as 5000 BCE covering Neolithic, bronze age, Phoenician period and others will soon be open and dedicated to the Punic, Roman and Byzantine periods. You can refer to the museum catalogue or attend one of the guided tours.

Malta National Museum of Archaeology history

The National Museum of Archaeology is housed in the Auberge de Provence, in Republic Street, Valletta. The building was completed in 1571 and served as the headquarters of the Knights of the Order of St John. Famous local architect Girolamo Cassar was involved in the design of the building. The facade is decorated with baroque decorative elements including Doric and Ionic columns. The Grand Salon features richly painted walls and a wooden beamed ceiling.

The museum was established here in 1958, displaying archaeological artefacts and paintings from Maltese and Italian artists. In 1974 the museum was reorganised and the paintings were transferred to the National Museum of Fine Arts which was newly established and the National Museum was renamed the National Museum for Archaeology. The museum is now dedicated to Maltese history during the Bronze Age, Punic, Antique, Arabic and Medieval periods.

The museum was refurbished and upgraded in 1998. Artefacts were placed in climate-controlled displays so that the exhibition met with current conservation standards.

Malta National Museum of Archaeology today

The Museum exhibits a spectacular range of artefacts providing visitors with a comprehensive introduction to the early history of Malta. The earliest tools used by prehisotric people are displayed giving insight into their daily lives.

Highlights include the ‘Sleeping Lady’ from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum, the ‘Venus of Malta’ from Ħaġar Qim, bronze daggers recovered from the Bronze Age layers at Tarxien Temples, and the Horus and Anubis pendant and the anthropomorphic sarcophagus, both belonging to the Phoenician Period.The oldest artefacts are more than 5000 years old.

Works are currently in progress to include other halls which will be dedicated to the Punic, Roman, and Byzantine Periods in Malta.

Getting to Malta National Museum of Archaeology

The Museum is located on Republc Street. The site is accesible by public transport and is on the 133 bus route.

The Sleeping Lady: a unique Maltese icon

The figurines found in a burial context have some features which are very similar to those which were found in above ground temples.

One particular statuette which draws a lot of attention is ‘The Sleeping lady’ which was unearthed from the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.

This clay figurine which was discovered in the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, represents a woman in a very natural sleeping position.

Since it was found in a burial place a number of hypotheses surround this statuette, the most common ones being that she personifies death, the eternal

It is very visible that she is lying on her side, naked from the waist upwards.

The lower part of her body is covered in a skirt which has decorations in parts, giving the impression of embroidery.

Whereas the majority of the statues found during the Temple period have a short bob-style hair, the Sleeping Lady’s hairstyle is very distinct.

A close inspection will reveal that the crown seems to have been shaved off and her hair only starts from the back of her head.

The couch on which the Sleeping Lady is lying seems to be sagging under her weight.

Great detail was also given to the decoration of the underside of the couch giving us a clear indication of how beds or couches were made during the Neolithic period.

During the Neolithic period, throughout the central Mediterranean, the deceased were buried in underground rock-cut tombs.

These tombs were made by digging a vertical shaft into the ground and when desired depth was reached, a chamber roughly oval in shape was dug from the foot of the shaft.

The body was placed inside the chamber along with decorated pots, and possibly other goods of which no records were found due to their perishable nature.

The positioning of the body varied but a common one was that of a crouched position usually associated with the foetal position.

Ochre is a natural iron oxide which occurs in yellow or red pigments. Locally the red pigment was used more abundantly.

Apart from being used to decorate pottery, it also used to be sprinkled over the corpse upon burial. In such contexts it probably represented the belief in life after death.

A number of artefacts associated with personal ornaments were found in such burial places. A number of pendants in a trapezoidal form made from jadeite were found in the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.

Along with these pendants other necklaces and bracelets made of pieces of shell, stones and animal bones were found. Jadeite is not a local resource and would have been imported.

Single chamber rock cut tombs gradually developed into more complex underground burial sites like the Xemxija tombs, a complex of seven tombs which date to ca 3800-3600 BC.

The later Neolithic phases saw the further enlargement of such tombs to accommodate more people, culminating in impressive examples like the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum or the Xagħra Stone Circle.

Extraordinary details unveiling the history of Malta

Prior to the time that scientific analysis on materials was used to help with dating the excavated artefacts, archaeologists used pottery as a means of identification.

They relied mainly on the decorations of the vessels, using as the main identification their decoration. Fabric type and texture were also taken into consideration.

The earliest pottery discovered in Malta dates to the Għar Dalam phase (5200-4500 BC).

The fine ware is grey or dark brown in colour and has incised rows and some chevrons, some of which still have white inlay in the incisions.

The thicker ware has less refined incisions or simple finger pinching marks.

The pottery from the next phase of Skorba is distinguishable in two varieties.

Grey Skorba (4500-4400 BC) which as the name implies is grey and mainly undecorated and the Red Skorba (4400-4100 BC) which is covered in a brilliant red slip.

The decoration during this phase is generally in the form of C or S incisions.

The first schematic anthropomorphic decorations on pottery date to the Żebbuġ phase (4100-3700 BC). These figures are rendered by means of linear incisions.

Other decorations are mostly arc shaped and are either incised in the pottery or else painted in red lines on a cream slip.

The Mġarr phase (3800-3600 BC) potter does not seem to have favoured the painted decoration as his predecessor.

The decorations on the pottery are mostly linear with thin scratches giving the impression of fringes.

Some of these incisions are filled with white inlay and sometimes bearing traces of red ochre on top.

The Ġgantija phase (3600 – 3200 BC) pottery decoration is similar to the Mġarr phase designs.

They are distinctive in their cross-hatching and lightly scratched lines. It is very probable that these lines were made only to provide a base for the red ochre to adhere to.

The Salfieni phase (3300-3000BC) is characterised by a new decorative motif curved double lines, with vertical lines in between.

One of the most outstanding decorations on pottery dates from this period, where a plate is decorated with scratched representations of quadrupeds, of which some are bulls.

These scratches lines were filled with white paste then covered with red ochre.

The final phase in the Temple period is the Tarxien phase (3150-2500 BC) which extended its decoration onto architectural stone.

The decoration on the pottery seems to be mostly a continuation of the previous phase but in a lighter manner.

Even though found on the same site of Tarxien temples, the Bronze Age artefacts recovered from this site is completely different to the Tarxien phase one.

These Tarxien Cemetery artefacts (2400-1500 BC) are heavily decorated and most of the vessels are covered in parallel zigzag bands and cross hatchings.

The Borg in-Nadur (1500-700 BC) pottery is not as decorated as the ones from Tarxien Cemetery.

One distinctive pattern that emerges during this phase is red or dark brown painted dots in the inner parts of the vessels, usually with a thick band round the rim.

The Bahrija phase (900-700 BC) ware is also very singular.

These are decorated with delicate incised square meanders. Such incisions are very similar to those on artefacts excavated from Calabria, South West Italy.

Tarxien Temples, being the latest of these megalithic structures, boasts the highest amount and most intricate of thee decorative designs.

The original decorated stone megaliths from this temple were brought in the museum in the 1960s for conservation purposes.

Although nowadays the stones are mainly decorated with spirals, there is enough evidence to show that the stones were originally decorated with pitted holes.

There are instances where one can still see these pitted decorations in parts of the stones. Such holes could have been made with bone points.

The spiral decorations on the stones come in a variety of designs and all are unique. Some of the stone have a border around the spirals that makes the reliefs even more prominent.

It is pertinent to note that all the decorations would have been carved with the primitive non metallic tools available they had at that time, namely bone points, flint, chert or other stone tools.

It seems that the stones were decorated in situ.

As the accompanying image shows, the stone on the left hand side seems to have been put in place against the stone on the right.

The decoration on this latter stone contours the adjoining stone and the rest is undecorated.

National Museum of Archaeology

Closed on 24, 25 & 31 December, 1 January & Good Friday Fee Adults (18 - 59 years): €5.00
Youths (12 - 17 years), Senior Citizens (60 years & over), and Students: €3.50
Children (6 -11 years): €2.50
Infants (1 -5 years): Free heritagemalta.org -->

The National archaeological museum of Valletta presents a great number of antique artifacts found in different locations on Malta. The exposition of the museum helps the habitants and guests of the city learn a lot about different periods of Maltese history starting from Neolithic age.

The Museum is situated in the building of an old baroque style mansion Auberge de Provance. It was built in 1574 and served as the headquarters of Saint John`s Knight Order being the centre of Maltese public life of that time. The famous architect Girolamo Cassar that took part in the building of Valletta city was in charge of the design of the building. The museum was established here in 1958. Originally archaeological artifacts and paintings of Maltese and Italian artists were exhibited there. In 1974 the museum was reorganized and the paintings were transferred to the Gallery of Fine Arts. Nowadays the exposition is dedicated to the Maltese history during the Bronze Age, Punic, Antique, Arabic and Medieval periods.

Today the museum holds the prehistoric pottery, stone tools, human and animal figures, jewelry that were found during the investigations of Megalithic temples of Hagar Qim and Mnajdra. The oldest artifacts are more than 5000 years old. In the Roman exposition different kinds of oil lamps found in the catacombs, glass dishes and some burial tools can be seen. In the Museum two most famous statues that played an important role in the history and culture of Malta are exhibited: &ldquoThe sleeping lady&rdquo encountered in the Megalithic temple of Hypogeum and &ldquoMaltese Venus&rdquo found in Hagar Qim. According to historians and archaeologists, these figures represent the goddesses of fertility and were considered sacral. Besides, the models of principal Megalithic complexes can be found here.

The museum is interesting not only from because of the exhibited items but also from the architectural point of view. Its facade is decorated with baroque decorative elements, Doric and Ionic columns. The building of Auberge de Provance is well preserved and is of grand tourist interest itself.

National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru

The Museo Nacional de Arqueología Antropología e Historia del Perú (English: National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History) is the largest and oldest museum in Peru, located on Plaza Bolívar in the Pueblo Libre district of Lima. The museum houses more than 100,000 artifacts spanning the entire history of human occupation in what is now Peru. Highlights include the Raimondi Stele and the Tello Obelisk from Chavín de Huantar, and an impressive scale model of the Incan citadel, Machu Picchu.

National Museum of the Archaeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru
LocationLima, Peru
DirectorSonia Guillén

In 2021, the new National Museum of Archaeology (MUNA) is destined to open after artifacts from the museum. [1] The National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology, and History is proposed to become a museum dedicated to the republican era of Peru.


National Museum of Archaeology
Palace Armoury
Palace State Rooms
Fort St Elmo & National War Museum
Fortifications Interpretation Centre
MUZA – The National Art Museum
St John’s Co-Cathedral

Harbour Area

Inquisitor’s Palace, Birgu
Malta Maritime Museum, Birgu
Fort St Angelo, Birgu
Tarxien Temples, Hal Tarxien

South Area

Ghar Dalam, Birzebbuga
Hagar Qim Temples, Qrendi
Mnajdra Temples, Qrendi
Borg in-Nadur Temples, Birzebbuga

Rabat Area

National Museum of Natural History, Mdina
Domus Romana, Mdina/Rabat
St Paul’s Catacombs, Rabat
Skorba Temples, Mgarr
Ta’ Hagrat Temples, Mgarr
Ta’ Bistra Catacombs, Mosta

Ggantija Temples, Xaghra
Ta’ Kola Windmill, Xaghra
Citadel Visitor Centre, Rabat
Gozo Museum of Archaeology, Cittadella
Gran Castello Historic House, Cittadella
Old Prison, Cittadella
Gozo Nature Museum, Cittadella


National Museum of Archaeology
Palace Armoury
Palace State Rooms
Fort St Elmo & National War Museum
Fortifications Interpretation Centre
MUZA – The National Art Museum

Harbour Area

Inquisitor’s Palace, Birgu
Malta Maritime Museum, Birgu
Fort St Angelo, Birgu
Tarxien Temples, Hal Tarxien
Hal Saflieni Hypogeum, Rahal Gdid

Malta National Museum of Archaeology - History

The National Museum of Archaeology is a Maltese museum of prehistoric artifacts, located in Valletta. It is managed by Heritage Malta. Housed at the Auberge de Provence, in Republic Street, Valletta, it is renowned as one of the most elaborately decorated Baroque buildings in the city. It was constructed in 1571 to serve as the official residence of the Knights of the Order of St John who originated from Provence in France. The sheer elegance of the time is still much alive in the richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling of the Grand Salon.

A visit to this museum offers a spectacular range of artefacts which date back to Malta’s Neolithic Period (5000 BC) up to the Phoenician Period (400 BC). Some of the most notable artefacts are: the earliest prehistoric tools and artistic representations, the ‘Sleeping Lady’ (from the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum), the ‘Venus of Malta’ (from Ħaġar Qim Temples), the Bronze Age daggers (from Tarxien Temples), and the Horus & Anubis pendant, together with the anthropomorphic sarcophagus, both of which date to the Phoenician Period.

The museum provides the visitor with a good introduction to the prehistory and early history of the Maltese Islands, and acts as a catalyst to other archaeological sites in Malta.

Works are currently in progress to include other halls which will be dedicated to the Punic, Roman, and Byzantine Periods in Malta.

Other Heritage Malta museums and sites in Valletta: Palace State Rooms and Palace Armoury, MUŻA, Fortress Builders Interpretation Centre, and Fort St Elmo – National War Museum.

The Auberge de Provence was opened as the National Museum in 1958 by Agatha Barbara, then the Minister of Education. The museum originally included the archaeological collection on the ground floor and fine arts on the first floor. The first curator was Captain Charles G. Zammit, the son of the eminent Maltese archaeologist Sir Themistocles Zammit.

In 1974, the fine arts collection was moved to the National Museum of Fine Arts, newly established in the Admiralty House building in South Street, Valletta, and the National Museum was renamed the National Museum for Archaeology.

The museum was refurbished and upgraded in 1998. Artifacts were placed in climate-controlled displays so that the exhibition met with current conservation standards.

The Auberge de Provence is a baroque building in Republic Street, Valletta, built for the Order of Saint John in 1571. It was designed by the Maltese architect Girolamo Cassar, who directed the building of most important buildings in the early days of Valletta. The building’s façade is imprinted with Mannerist characteristics usually associated with Cassar.

The Grand Salon on the first floor is the most ornate room in the building. The Knights used it for business discussions, and as a refectory and banqueting hall, where they sat at long tables according to seniority.

When Napoleon expelled the Knights from Malta in 1798 the Auberge was leased to the Malta Union Club. Though the lease was to expire in 2002, on 12 August 1955 the Auberge was assigned to house Malta’s National Museum.

The ground floor of the museum exhibits prehistoric artefacts from the Maltese islands, from the Għar Dalam phase (5200 BC), the earliest appearance of settlement on the island, up to the Tarxien phase (2500 BC).

Early Neolithic Period Room (5200–3800 BC)
This room exhibits artifacts from the early Neolithic Period, including decorated pottery from the Għar Dalam, Grey Skorba, Red Skorba and Żebbuġ phases.

Of particular importance are the Red Skorba figurines, the earliest local representations of the human figure and the predecessors of the statues of later temple periods.

The exhibition features a reconstruction of the rock-cut tombs that were a characteristic of the early Neolithic period in Malta. Rock-cut tombs reached their climax in burials like the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum and the Xagħra Stone Circle photographs of both sites are displayed in the museum.

Temple Period Rooms (3800–2500 BC)
These rooms show examples of architecture, human representation and other items that date from the Mġarr, Ġgantija, Saflieni and Tarxien phases of Maltese prehistory. The temples that were built at this time are considered to be the world’s first free standing monuments and are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The museum exhibits numerous corpulent statues representing human bodies unearthed from temple excavations, along with phallic representations. Until recently the statues were called Mother Goddesses, Fat Ladies, Deities and Priests among other names, but it is now argued that these statues were probably asexual and represented a human being, irrespective of whether it was male or female. The representations vary in size and shape, with the largest being as tall as 2.7 m and the smallest 4 mm.

The discovery of temple altars and corpulent human representations suggests that some type of cult existed on the islands of Malta and Gozo in prehistory. Given the corpulency of the statues it may be that the cult was tied to a fertility rite. Fertility at this time must have been very important since, apart from family growth, it also meant the reproduction of crops and animals.

The exhibition includes altars excavated from the Tarxien Temples that were probably used for animal sacrifices. They were brought to the museum for conservation reasons.

A statuette from Neferabu’s tomb is permanently displayed at museum.

The National Museum of Archaeology displays a significant array of artefacts from the Islands’ unique prehistoric periods, starting with the first arrival of man in 5200 BC, running up to 2500 BC.

The first rooms trace man’s early settlement on the Islands up to the temple-building periods using a reconstruction of a rock-cut tomb. The collection includes obsidian cores and the Red Skorba figurines, which are predecessors of the temple period objects and statuary.

The main hall is devoted to temple carvings and the collection continues with representations of animals, temple models, and the remarkable human figures. Of particular note are the exquisite figures of the ‘Sleeping Lady’ from the Hypogeum, and the ‘Venus’ of Hagar Qim.

The last room exhibits some pottery from the temple period, together with tools, beads and other ornaments.

Temporary exhibitions
The Grand Salon on the second floor occasionally holds temporary exhibitions of particular national interest.

It has recently hosted the following exhibitions, among others:

Silent Warriors (March 2007), featuring artifacts from the terracotta army of the first emperor of China, Shi Huangdi.
Caravaggio L’Immagine Del Divino (September – November 2007), exhibiting original masterpieces of the Italian artist, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, who was active in Malta in the early 17th century.
Renzo Piano’s designs for the redevelopment of Valletta’s City Gate, Parliament House and Opera House (July 2009).
In Quest of Beauty (26 February – 15 May 2011), an exhibition of works by the Bohemian Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha.

The museum plans to open the first floor galleries and expand the exhibition in the near future to include archaeological artifacts from the Bronze Age, Phoenician, Punic and Roman Periods.

Opening hours
The museum is open every day from 9am till 7pm, with last admission at 6:30pm.

They are closed on Good Friday, Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year’s Eve and Day.

National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History

Founded in April 1826, the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru (MNAAHP) is Peru's oldest state museum. On display is a wide range of perfectly preserved pre-Hispanic ceramics, textiles, metals, organic materials and lithic's. Objects of historic-artistic value are exhibited. The documentary, photographic and bibliographic collections tell the story of Peru in the Colonial and Republican time.

The museum is housed in an old colonial mansion. The historic architecture offers an ideal place where everyone can discover, relive, and question the life experiences of our ancestors. The museum invites national tourists and foreigners, children and adults, researchers and academics, cultural and entrepreneurial institutions and the public to enjoy and experiment with the different activities and make use of the spaces the museum offers.

Lithic's Gallery

The MNAAHP Lithic's Department presently has nearly 20,000 archaeological pieces from different areas in Peru and every period of the country's cultural history. From the first instruments elaborated since approximately 12,000 B.C., which show evidence of hunting and gathering activities, to the sumptuary and religious objects corresponding to later times.

Raimondi Stela, a sacred Chavin monolith, is displayed at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima

Pre-Inca vessel displayed at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima

Lithics Exhibition at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima

Stone sculpture displayed at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima

Stone statue exhibited at the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History in Lima

As early as 1878, the year when the Romanian Old Kingdom acquired Northern Dobruja, its first prefect, Remus Opreanu, proposed creating an archaeology museum. This was soon done, in Opreanu's office. After the prefecture building burned down in 1882, the surviving pieces were housed in the public garden pavilion. By 1911, the surviving collection was in storage at a local high school. That year, Vasile Pârvan, head of the National Museum of Antiquities, wrote a report calling for a permanent museum in Constanța this is considered its founding charter. From 1912, the museum was located in a kiosk in the city park. It was moved into a wing of the city hall in 1928, opening two years later. [1]

By the 1930s, the museum was becoming crowded donations, acquisitions and excavations were constantly expanding the collection. In 1937, the archaeology section held 272 items. In 1957, the museum was reorganized under the leadership of Vasile Canarache and moved into a new building, now the Archbishop's Palace. It featured exhibit space, a restoration laboratory, a specialized library and modern equipment. Eventually, this space too became insufficient, as the history section stopped with the Middle Ages. In 1977, the museum moved into the entire city hall building. [1]

The ground floor of the museum features two rooms of archaeological finds. The middle floor describes the ancient and medieval history of Dobruja. The highest floor is dedicated to modern history, as well as thematic expositions. [1] The archaeological collection includes 24 sculptures (statues and bas reliefs) found in 1962 while foundations were being dug for an apartment building. That very summer, 300,000 visitors saw the new discovery, which has remained a matter of scientific interest. The centerpiece is a glycon dating to the 2nd century AD. Sculptures of Tyche, the protecting divinity of Tomis (ancient Constanța), and of Pontus, god of the Black Sea, date to the same period. [2] A bust of Isis and a relief showing a Thracian horseman are from the 3rd century. [3]

Other items include an 18th-century bronze brooch found at Vadu in 1989 a 2nd or 3rd-century gold and glass necklace from Mangalia (Callatis), found 1985 a gold and stone medallion from the 1962 excavation a 3rd or 4th-century gold earring with goat pendant from Vama Veche a 2nd-century gold ring with gem inset from Tomis and a 4th to 6th-century gold cross with gem inset found at Mangalia in 1983. [4] Finally, there is a 4th-century hypogeum style tomb discovered in Constanța in 1988. It is noted for the artistic value of the painted interior, featuring elements both of Ancient Greek religion and Christianity. [5]

Scythian bowl, 5th-4th century BC, bronze from Castelu (near Medgidia, Constanța County) [7]

Fragment of parade helmet earmuff, 1st century AD, bronze from Ostrov [8]

Roman sundial, 1st-2nd century, marble from Cumpăna (Constanța County) [9]

Mithriac low relief, 1st-2nd century from the Adam Cave (Gura Dobrogei, Constanța County) [10]

Mithriac low relief, 1st-2nd century from the Adam Cave [11]

Fortuna with Pontus, 2nd century, marble height: 1.55 m [12]

Aedicula with two female statues inside, representing the Ancient Greek goddess Nemesis, marble height: 1.05 m, width: 0.5 m, thickness: 0.285 m [13]

Statue of Glycon, late 2nd century, marble height: 0.66 m [14]

Low relief of a Thracian horseman, 3rd century, marble height: 0.22 m, width: 0.225 m, thickness: 0.032 m [15]

Funerary stela, 3rd-4th century, marble [16]

Ionic capital exhibited next to the museum entrance

The museum building was designed as a city hall by architect Victor Ștefănescu. Prince Ferdinand laid the cornerstone in May 1912. Construction was halted in 1913, restarted in summer 1914, then stopped again during World War I. The building was inaugurated in July 1921. Aside from its political and administrative function, it housed a beer hall in the basement, with room for 300 customers as well as a coffee and pastry shop in a ground floor wing, and a restaurant in the other wing. [17]

The structure is in Romanian Revival style, with a loggia, columns and small windows. At the time of its construction, was criticized for its excessive cost, and for blocking wind from the sea, creating a heat island. [18] The building is listed as a historic monument by Romania's Ministry of Culture and Religious Affairs. [19]

Upon entering the Capital City Valletta through city gate, the museum is quite easy to locate as it is a straight road ahead.
The museum is equipped with lifts and therefore is accessible for wheelchair bound people as well as elderly people who may find it difficult to climb up the stairs to view the exhibitions. The museum is set up in a way that you view the exhibitions by passing through a “path” and although the museum is set up to be accessed by wheelchair bound people, the pathways are quite narrow and would be quite difficult to manoeuvre around the pathways especially when the museum has large groups of people visiting.

Watch the video: Maltas Museum of Archaeology with TravelArt - February 2019 (August 2022).