Phoenician shipPhoenician ship carved on the face of a sarcophagus. 2nd century AD / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Phoenician Wreck Found Off Malta

Divers have discovered a 2,700-year-old Phoenician shipwreck off the coast of Gozo, Malta's Minister for Culture, Owen Bonnici, announced yesterday

The 15m-long ancient vessel lies at a depth of 120m about one mile off the coast of Malta's second largest island and dates back to 700BC. Scientists believe it to be the oldest shipwreck in the Mediterranean.

A few months ago, the divers found around 50 amphorae of seven different types and 20 lava grinding stones weighing 35 kilos each on the wreckage. The discovery was made a few months ago but kept secret to ensure the a detailed archaeolgical survey can be carried out. Sample artefacts have been raised in order to be studied in more detail. 

A team of the GROplan Project is currently examining the site. The project is funded by the French National Research Agency. Researchers of the University of Malta and from institutions in France and the US are also involved in the project.

In an interview project co-director Dr Timmy Gabin told the Times of Malta that the wreck was in 'a fantatsic state of preservation'.

The Phoenicians were based in present-day Lebanon and traded along the entire Mediterranean coast. They are believed to be the first inhabitants of the islands of Malta.

 

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