Shipwrecks Off Albania

Not sure why the only source for this seems to be the rather obscure Owen Sound Sun Times, but it appears there has been a rather major shipwreck discovery off the coast of Albania. Adding to the mystery (for me) is why most of the article seems to quote people who weren’t directly involved.

Dixit Andrej Gaspari (a Slovenian archaeologist not involved in the project):

“The discoveries are very important because of the lack of properly documented objects from that period … The only ships found and documented from that time belong to the western Mediterranean and Israel . . . so our knowledge on the technology used for construction of ships is more or less limited.”

Among the finds:

A 51-centimetre-long pottery jar, or amphora, used to transport wine and olive oil, and a smaller version found about 80 metres deep were probably made in the southern Greek city of Corinth, in the sixth or early fifth centuries BC. Both were recovered from a merchant ship that sank about three kilometres off shore. Albanian archeologist Adrian Anastasi said if the sixth-century BC dating is confirmed, it would be only the fifth of its kind found in the world.

Other highlights included a fourth-century BC amphora and roof tiles, a north African jar from the first to third centuries AD and a Roman stone ship’s anchor of the second-first century BC. The team, operating off the southern port city of Saranda, also located more than 20 unknown 20th-century shipwrecks.

Dixit Adrian Anastasi (who is connected to the ‘dig’):

“A wreck with a whole shipload of tiles has never been found before,” Anastasi said. “The number of tiles and the way they were lying clearly shows the ship is below them.”

The article continues:

Anastasi said he had unearthed the same type of large tiles — which measure 74 by 51 inches — during excavations on land at the ruins of ancient cities in western Albania. He said the ship seemed to have been loaded on the nearby Greek island of Corfu and possibly foundered on its way to a Corinthian colony in Albania.

There’s more info (and some photos of the sorts of things we’re interested in) at the Albanian Coastal Survey 2008 webpage …

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