November 2013: Maritime heritage of the Maltese Islands

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TimmyGambin400Dr Timmy Gambin

On Wednesday 27 November 2013 Dr Timmy Gambin from the University of Malta, gave a very interesting talk about The maritime heritage of the Maltese Islands: a fascinating past - an exciting future at the Maltese community Centre in Parkville. The talk was delivered in conjunction with the Maltese Historical Association.

The MHA special event was very well attended both by Maltese as well as by a considerable contingent of academics from universities around Melbourne. Dr Gambin took the audience through a maritime journey from the time of the Mediterranean seafaring Phoenicians to the present time. He also provided a detailed description about the geography and the archaeology of the Maltese Islands.

Dr Gambin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta specialising in Maritime Archaeology. He has been investigating and looking for remains of ships and their cargoes that were lost around Malta and the Central Mediterranean.

Dr Gambin has forged close ties with other research centres overseas., including centres in France, Italy and the USA in an effort aimed at the reconstruction of ancient coastal landscapes and environments of the Maltese Islands. He has directed numerous offshore underwater surveys in various parts of the Mediterranean, including Spain, Italy and Croatia.

Dr Gambin gave a glimpse of the techniques used to examine the sea bed which, at around 100 metres, is far too deep to allow ordinary divers to examine directly. It was amazing to see, for instance, the dozens of amphorae which are still packed together exactly as they were on the ship that sank two thousand years ago.

boatlatin600A Roman shipOne of Dr Gambin's dreams is to build a ship exactly to the specifications of a Roman ship, and use this to roam around the Mediterranean, advertising the enormous riches to be found in Malta and its surrounds.
Dr Gambin is seeking expertise and assistance to help him with the planning, development of a future project that would take some five years of building a replica of a Maltese Corsair sailing ship (Xebek).

The ship will be constructed in Malta making use of experts to build it but at the same time use the experience as an opportunity to train young men and women in the art of shipbuilding, carpentry and ship maintenance.

Dr Gambin was on a tour of Australia sponsored by the University of Malta which took him to Melbourne, Sydney and Perth in Western Australia. He explained his endeavours to set up a masters programme in maritime archaeology with the University of WA in Perth.

In Sydney he had talks with Dr Nigel Erskine, an Australian maritime archaeologist who is Research Manager at the National Maritime Museum

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