TIRANA, Albania — Albania is promoting the archaeological finds in the waters off its southwest coast to raise public interest and to attract attention of decision-makers who can help preserve the discoveries.
The Albanian National Coastline Agency opened an exhibit Monday of 30 photographs showing underwater finds of potential archaeological significance from the last decade.The nonprofit RPM Nautical Foundation has mapped about one-third of Albania’s coast so far, from Saranda, near Greece’s Corfu island, to Vlora.
National coastline agency head Auron Tare says the scan found 38 shipwrecks in the Ionian Sea, six of them more than 2,000 year old.Today’s WorldViewWhat’s most important from where the world meets WashingtonSign upTare said the ships and other objects “show ancient Illyria (Albania’s predecessor) was a commercial pass rather than a pirates’ place,” Tare said.
He says the archaeological wealth of Albania’s 220-mile coastline needs more legal protections and better care to make it a popular tourist destination. The country does not have a scuba diving industry, but that could change if the findings are promoted properly, Tare said.“We have a lot of such archaeological underwater heritage but, so far, we have not known how to keep, preserve and use them,” he said.The exhibition includes photos of amphorae — two-handled storage pots and jars used for wine or oil in ancient Greece — and other items encrusted with tiny shells.