Sunday, 20 August 2017

Archaeology Survey of Albania’s Seabed Yields Important Prehistoric Findings   
3 February 2009 | Ancient sunken ships and prehistoric objects were found during the first archaeological survey of Albania’s section of the Ionian Sea.

A research ship of American and Albania experts has scanned the waters off Albania’s southern coast and located for the past two summers, finding at least five sites that could fill in important gaps on ancient shipbuilding techniques.

“Albania is a tremendous untapped (archaeological) resource," said US archaeologist Jeffrey G. Royal from the Key West, Florida-based RPM Nautical Foundation, a nonprofit group leading the underwater survey, told international media, adding that the discoveries so far put Albania – which in Antiquity stood on an important trade route,on a par with Italy and Greece.

Traces of four sunken Greek ships from the sixth to the third centuries were found during the latest expedition and three more sites have to be verified.

“The discoveries are very important because of the lack of properly documented objects from that period,” Andrej Gaspari, a Slovenian underwater archaeologist who was not involved in the project, told media adding that the only other ships documented from that time belong to the Western Mediterranean and Israel.

In addition to the ships in and of themselves, locating them gave rise to the discovery of many other important archaeological artefacts – ancient amphorae, roof tiles, a north African jar from the first to the third centuries AD and a Roman stone ship’s anchor from the second to the first century BC.

The team, according to media reports, is not disclosing the precise location of the sunken ships in order to protect them from looting.

RPM and the Texas-based Institute of Nautical Archaeology plan to scan the whole 354-kilometre shore from the southern border with Greece to Montenegro in the north over the next five years. When that work is completed, the two organizations will consider excavating the wrecks using robot submarines and divers.

“I'd say if all the material we discovered was excavated you would need a new museum to put it in,” mission leader George Robb said. “We've scanned only 217 square kilometres until now.”

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