Exploring the Archaeology of an Ancient Naval Battle Using a State of the Art AUV

Presenter:  Professor Timmy Gambin, University of Malta

Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Time: 10.00 AM - 10.45 AM EST (3.00 PM - 3.45 PM GMT)

For over an entire decade, the Sicilian Superintendence of the Sea together with RPM Nautical, has explored the seabed  off the Egadi Islands off Trapani. This ambitious and unique project produced some incredible results including, but not limited to, the discovery of numerous bronze rams. Despite the success of the first phases of the project it became clear that a new approach was necessary to survey the site in a more efficient manner. Since 2019, the University of Malta has partnered the Superintendence and RPM - specifically through the deployment of its Automated Underwater Vehicle. This talk will introduce the battle of the Egadi Islands and will also share some highlights and discoveries from the initial phases of the project. The main part of the presentation will cover the methodologies developed in the context of this project, how these complimented existing work and what results have been achieved so far.

Presenter Bio:

Professor Timmy Gambin -

I am an Associate Professor of Maritime Archaeology in the Department of Classics and Archaeology, University of Malta, from where I obtained a B.A. in History. Following my undergraduate studies, I went on to attain an M.A. in Maritime Archaeology and History at the University of Bristol in the UK where I continued my postgraduate studies by reading for a doctorate in Maritime Archaeology. In 2001, I joined the Department as a visiting lecturer and took up a full time post as Senior Lecturer in spring of 2012.

Over the past years, I have been involved in numerous collaborative research projects. The PaleoMed Project with the CNRS (Aix en Provence) is aimed at the reconstruction of ancient coastal landscapes and environments of the Maltese Islands. The multidisciplinary approach sees archaeologists working together with geomorphologists and palynologists. The Ancient Cisterns Project with CalPoly (USA) explores underground water management systems through the use of small remote operated vehicles armed with a variety of sensors. Together with a number of local partners and authorities, I also directed numerous offshore underwater surveys in various parts of the Mediterranean including Spain, Italy and Croatia.

I consider myself lucky to combine my passion for WWII history with archaeology – especially in the growing field of aviation archaeology underwater. With well over 50 aircraft discovered and explored so far, submerged aircraft crash sites are fast becoming an integral part of my work. Currently, my major project is the excavation of the Phoenician Shipwreck off the island of Gozo – datable to 700BC – it is currently the oldest known shipwreck in the central Mediterranean.

I have recently edited a volume of papers delivered at the First International Conference of Aviation Archaeology and Heritage.



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