Dr Timmy Gambin: Way back in the summer of 2007, I spent hours on end looking at sonar images of the seabed unfold as we towed a sonar to and fro off the coast of the island of Gozo. A small innocuous anomaly that was at the time diligently marked as an ‘interesting target’ turned out to be one of the most important finds in Mediterranean underwater archaeology - the Phoenician Shipwreck of Gozo. Subsequent seasons of fieldwork helped unravel snippets of information about what is, to date, the oldest known shipwreck in the Central Mediterranean. For eight years we returned to the site, every year using better and better technology.
However, the more I got to know the site the more I yearned to visit it myself. Two years of meticulous planning culminated in a unique project in September of this year. An international team from Malta, Finland, France, Sicily and the UK - consisting of archaeologists, professional technical divers and underwater cameramen - met and for two weeks conducted operations on the shipwreck. Descending to 110 meters using rebreathers and mixed gases, divers were able to spend a maximum of 20 minutes on the seabed followed by a slow ascent of over two hours. Despite such a short working window the team managed to record the site in 3D as well as recover a number of unique objects from the site. Taking care of minute details and good time keeping ensured that these challenging dives were executed successfully and, more importantly, safely.
Our team members, including those who did not dive, performed well beyond the call of duty contributing greatly to the success of the 2016 season. If we are able to put together the same line up we are almost certain to return in 2017 and boy are we looking forward to it.