Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici this morning said that a Phoenician ship has been located in the central Mediterranean, describing it as a historic event.
The shipwreck is at a depth of 120 metres and is located one mile off the coast of Gozo. It dates back to 700BC.
Dr Bonnici said the boat was most probably around 50 feet long and it could also be the oldest shipwreck in the Mediterranean.
The discovery was kept under wraps until the necessary studies were carried out in the ambit of the GROPLAN Project funded by the French National Research Agency.
GROPLAN is aimed at developing underwater photogrammetry, a 3D recording system that enables scientists to accomplish tasks in an efficient and cost effective manner.
Project partners include the CNRS CCJ Centre Camille Julian, the CNRS Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Deleation Provence Corse Laboratoire des Sciences de l’Information et des Systemes, the University of Malta’s Department of Classic and Archaeology, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, COMEX and the A&M University of Texas, US, among others.
The shipwreck is well preserved and new software development tools are being created to compile data which in turn will be included in the National Inventory of Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands, a register of cultural property in Malta.
Data related to this project and other finds can be viewed on http//:chims.datatrak.ws/gengisnet/login.aspx.
Dr Bonnici said that the result of the project is surprising due to the fact that Malta hasn’t infinite resources for such projects.
One of the project’s researchers explained that this find is typical of a Phoenician vessel which made stops in Sardegna and Malta to sell its cargo, some of which includes lava grinding stones and seven different types of vases.
The exact location of the site will not be revealed for the time being.