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Archaeologists call on Albania to protect its underwater heritage

Scientists and archaeologists warn that thousands of ancient Roman and Greek artefacts and ancient shipwrecks in Albania’s virtually unexplored coastal waters could be vulnerable to looting by thieves and treasure hunters. Academics are calling on Albania to take measures to give due protection to the region’s cultural heritage. James Goold, chairman of the RPM Nautical
Published: September 6, 2018 - 17:09
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 17:12
Archaeologists call on Albania to protect its underwater heritage

Scientists and archaeologists warn that thousands of ancient Roman and Greek artefacts and ancient shipwrecks in Albania’s virtually unexplored coastal waters could be vulnerable to looting by thieves and treasure hunters. Academics are calling on Albania to take measures to give due protection to the region’s cultural heritage.

James Goold, chairman of the RPM Nautical Foundation, said the objects in question date from the 8th century BC to the Second World War. He stresses that the objects could be a great tourist attraction, if properly protected and preserved, they would enrich museum exhibitions.

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Goold mapped the bottom of the Ionian Sea from the Greek border to the Gulf of Vlora, finding at least 22 wrecks in the area, dating from ancient times to World War II, as well as hundreds of ancient amphorae that even dot the seabed.

[blockquote style=”2″]”It is time to create a proper museum for tourists from the country as well as those visiting Albania from abroad,” said Albanian archaeologist Neritan Ceka.”[/blockquote]

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Some of the amphorae and other artefacts may have already been looted and today it is not uncommon to find them as ornaments in local restaurants located along the Albanian coast. Albania is trying to protect its treasures and at the same time benefit from such a rich underwater heritage, but the protection of these treasures is seriously lagging, neglected by the former communist regime. Unfortunately, with the change of regime not much has changed and those involved in the exploration and protection of these treasures, still receive very scarce funding from the government.

[blockquote style=”2″]”The arrival of the RPM research vessel “Hercules” 11 years ago, was a real revolution,” Ceka said, praising the divers’ professionalism, high-tech equipment, including a sonar and a remotely operated underwater vehicle.”[/blockquote]

RPM and the joint Albanian-Italian expedition, are so far the only scientific activities undertaken in Albania to explore and protect the country’s underwater heritage. Representatives of the RPM Nautical Foundation and those involved in the subject believe that the time has come for an Institute of Underwater Archaeology to be established and to take professional action.

Source: stuff.co.nz

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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