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Ancient Phoenician boat believed found in Maltese waters

Divers have discovered what could be the oldest shipwreck in the Mediterranean - a 700BC Phoenician boat found about a mile off Gozo.

Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said the wreck is in waters 120 metres deep. The scientists using specialised equipment found around 50 amphora of seven different types - indicating the vessel had been in different harbours.

They also found 20 lava grinding zones weighing some 35 kilos each. Samples have been raised to the surface for study. The whole operation is being supervised by the Superintendence of National Heritage.

Project co-director Dr Timmy Gambin said the boat was probably some 50 feet long.

The site is being explored by GROplan Project, funded by the French National Research Agency. The project is developing underwater photogrammetry. The University of Malta is involved in the project as well as institutions in France and US.

The Phoenician people were based in present-day Lebanon and were known as traders who travelled across most of the Mediterranean.

 

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