Malta to get underwater archaeological parks

A unit to manage and protect underwater cultural assets has been set up within Heritage Malta and it will oversee the creation of undersea archaeological parks

A new unit has been set up to manage and protect underwater archaeological sites
A new unit has been set up to manage and protect underwater archaeological sites

Archaeological parks beneath the sea will soon become a reality after an underwater cultural heritage unit was set up, Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said.

The new unit forms part of Heritage Malta, a State agency, and will manage and protect the island’s underwater cultural assets.

“Underwater archaeological parks will bring a number of benefits, primarily the safeguarding of our country’s unequalled and precious underwater cultural resource,” Bonnici said.

The unit will also be responsible for making sites accessible for divers and for ordinary people through virtual reality.

Underwater archaeological research off the coasts of Malta and Gozo over the years has unearthed important finds, including a 2,700-year-old Phoenician shipwreck, the oldest in the central Mediterranean, and dozens of aircraft crash sites.

The unit will form part of Heritage Malta and will also be responsible for making sites accessible to divers
The unit will form part of Heritage Malta and will also be responsible for making sites accessible to divers

The underwater heritage is rich and diverse. 

The new unit has been tasked with identifying a number of underwater sites to be accessed by divers in a controlled and managed manner.

It is envisaged that approximately 10 historic sites will be open this year and Heritage Malta will strive to open between three and five new sites in 2020 and 2021.

Shipwreck access will be managed via an online booking system administered by Heritage Malta.

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