This cutting-edge archaeological park, the first of its kind, is made possible by the Malta Airport Foundation and Heritage Malta, and is set to be launched this spring. The new underwater park is located in Xlendi Bay in the southwest corner of Malta’s sister island of Gozo.
First discovered in 1993, this deep-water archaeological park, encompassing an area of 67,000 square meters (approx. 42 miles), will allow international researchers and technical divers to explore the history of Malta from a totally different deep sea archaeological perspective. The marine park will showcase thousands of ancient artifacts, such as amphorae and urns, dating back to around 2,300 years, and natural heritage in the form of rocky outcrops formed by extinct coral reefs.
The Malta Airport Foundation Chairman, Josef Formosa Gauci, stated, “Through the Underwater Malta website, the foundation also hopes to support Heritage Malta in bringing this project closer to people who are neither divers nor researchers but are keen to learn more about the Maltese Islands’ history through our underwater cultural heritage.”
Professor Timmy Gambin from Heritage Malta stated: “I am very proud to be part of the team launching the Tower Wreck Deepwater Archaeological Park. Heritage Malta, together with the University of Malta and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, is valorizing and sharing a unique site that is otherwise invisible to the vast majority of the world. Thanks to support from the Malta Airport Foundation, this ambitious and challenging project has gone from concept to reality.”
The Underwater Malta website will make the deep-water archaeological site accessible to all through 360-degree videos, images, and 3D models, which is a virtual museum of the islands’ underwater archaeological sites. The marine park will be the site of a small museum with some exhibits and video footage of the seabed archeological park. Minister Bonnici stated, “Through this virtual museum, more people can discover our underwater cultural heritage and appreciate the unique sites in our seas.”
The sunny islands of Malta, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, are home to a most remarkable concentration of intact built heritage, including the highest density of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in any nation-state anywhere. Valletta, built by the proud Knights of St. John, is one of the UNESCO sites and the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Malta’s patrimony in stone ranges from the oldest free-standing stone architecture in the world, to one of the British Empire’s most formidable defensive systems, and includes a rich mix of domestic, religious and military architecture from the ancient, medieval and early modern periods. With superbly sunny weather, attractive beaches, a thriving nightlife and 8,000 years of intriguing history, there is a great deal to see and do.