Xlendi and its Ancient Shipwrecks
On Saturday 29th November, 2014 the book Xlendi and its Ancient Shipwrecks was launched at the Ministry for Gozo. This book, Palazzo Falson Historic House Museum’s first, is published in association with Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti. At the launch, Prof. John Woods CBE, DSc, the distinguished author of the book described its contents as:
‘The ancient shipwrecks at Xlendi occurred sporadically over two millennia, from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages which resulted in a concentration of ancient artefacts far richer than other findings in Maltese waters. The book explains this by relating maritime activity in the central Mediterranean to the harbour’s socio-economic history. It provides an illustrated eye-witness account, with original colour underwater photographs which were taken during the 1961 exploration and mapping of the wreck site, highlighting the recovery of artefacts that are now in the Gozo Museum of Archaeology. ‘
He also paid tribute to Olof Frederick Gollcher, who owned and lived in Palazzo Falson for many years of his life, explaining how Gollcher was instrumental in enabling and guiding, together with the then Malta National Museum, this pioneering underwater exploration.
The 1961 survey was led by John Woods, at the time a physics undergraduate and President of the Underwater Club at Imperial College London. He spent the next ten summers combining science and diving for the Royal Navy in Malta. His career alternated between being a Professor of Oceanography (Southampton, Kiel & London) and a senior civil servant (UK Director of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences). He was awarded the Founder's gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. In 2007 he shared in the Nobel Peace Prize for Climate.
The launch which was addressed by a panel made up of Minister for Gozo Anton Refalo, the author Prof. John Woods and Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti Deputy Chairman and Editor Judge Giovanni Bonello, was followed by a drinks reception at the Ministry for Gozo.