By University of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
University of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
In 2007, while conducting a systematic sonar survey off Xlendi, in Gozo (Malta), an anomaly was detected on the seabed.
Xlendi Cliffs (2019) by University of MaltaUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
Located approximately 900 meters off the south-west cliff-lined coast of Gozo, the shipwreck lies not far from Xlendi bay, which may had been the departure port of the ship's final trip...
Early exploration at Xlendi
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, groups of rsearchers travelled to Gozo from the UK. Over a number of years, these groups mapped part of the seabed under the Xlendi tower.
First dives by J. Ripard SeniorUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
A unique photograph from the early 1960s showing divers recovering amphoras from Xlendi Bay.
Early object recovery by S. SciclunaUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
They raised a number of objects were recovered - some of these are on display at the Gozo Museum of Archaeology. A diver showing off a small table amphora that he has raised from Xlendi in the 1960s.
Surveyed area by University of Malta/Aurora TrustUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
The 2007 side scan sonar survey was aimed at delineating the site formerly explored in the early 1960s. A decision was taken to extend the survey to include the entire outer Xlendi Bay.
Discovery (2007) by University of Malta / Aurora TrusthUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
As the sonar passed over the area a target was observed - its shape and form completely distinct from the featureless seabed around it.
This image shows the sonar target which turned out to be the remains of a well preserved ancient shipwreck, laying exposed on the seabed at more than 100 meters of depth.
Looking under the sediments (2008) by University of Malta / Aurora TrustUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
A sub bottom profiler was used to explore whether more of the cargo was buried within the sediments. Results show that in some areas there is approximately 1.8m of archaeology buried under the seabed.
In 2009 the research team deployed a small remote operated vehicle to explore the site. The first images relayed back to the surface confirmed that the site was an ancient shipwreck of importance.
First images of the Wreck
Images relayed to the surface via the vehicle's cable revealed a a cargo that was mostly undisturbed for 2700 years.
The yellow submarine
In 2014, a manned-submersible was brought to Gozo for the second phase of the project.
Manned Submersible exploring the site (2014) by University of MaltaUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
For the first time since its discovery, scientists were able to visit the site and observe it close up. Three cameras shot thousands of photos used to create a high resolution mosaic of the site.
Ortophoto 2014 (2014)University of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
The 2014 survey revealed a mixed cargo of ceramics and grinding stones that were identifiable as Phoenician and datable to 700 BC.
Manual diagram of the site (2017) by University of MaltaUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
A sketch based on the 2014 survey produced by an archaeological illustrator. This traditional view of the wreck provides another level of recording necessary for the archaeological record of the site.
Colonized amphora by University of Malta_GROPLAN ProjectUniversity of Malta, Department of Classics & Archaeology
A rockfish makes itself at home in the broken remains of a western Phoenician amphora.
Photography, 3D models & documentation: COMEX, P. Drap, D. Gration, K. Hyttinen, G. M. Iaria & J. Wood.
Special thanks to everyone who participated in this project and made it possible.
Project support provided by:
- Heritage Malta
- Malta Tourism Authority
- Malta International Airport
- Ministry for Gozo
- Honor Frost Foundation
For further information please visit http://www.lsis.org/groplan/article/art_Xlendi.html