Exploring the Phoenician Shipwreck off Xlendi is the latest Heritage Malta exhibition highlighting discoveries from an innovative underwater project.

The exhibition focuses on the discovery of a Phoenician shipwreck which dates back to 700BC. Discovered off Xlendi in 2007 at a depth of 110 metres, this intriguing ancient vessel has attracted worldwide attention since it is the oldest wreck ever found so far in this region.

The Phoenicians were renowned to be skillful and brave maritime traders who managed to create an impressive commercial network across several countries. Their trading routes are known to have extended as far up into Britain and to Mesopotamian ports and also east to mainland Greece and Crete.

Yet the exact routes on which they travelled have remained elusive. The discovery of shipwrecks which date to the Phoenician period shed further light on the possible trade routes of these mysterious merchants.

Based on more than 10 years of research, the University of Malta, in collaboration with a number of partners, has utilised state-of-the-art technologies to study and explore one of the most exciting underwater archaeological discoveries in the central Mediterranean.

The exhibition highlights some of the innovative techniques used in this project, including the methods utilised to recover a number of artefacts from the shipwreck, some of which were previously unknown in archaeological records.

Besides following the results of this interesting study, visitors to this exhibition will be able to explore a number of artefacts recovered from the shipwreck.

Through audiovisual aids they can transport themselves into an underwater world of historical discovery. The exhibition also explains stories of trade, exchange, production and consumption in the archaic Mediterranean.

Exploring the Phoenician Shipwreck off Xlendi runs at Heritage Malta’s Gozo Area Office, Exhibition Hall, St Martin’s Quarter Street, the Citadel until August 31. It is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm. Admission is free. More information is available on www.heritagemalta.org.

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