Ancient Amphora Recovered by Nonprofit OceanX Delivered to the Republic of Malta

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(Adnkronos) – After the discovery in the Mediterranean Sea and a year-long collaborative effort following UNESCO guidelines, OceanX delivered the amphora for study by the University of Malta  

NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On September 18, 2023, global exploration nonprofit OceanX delivered an ancient amphora to Maltese heritage authorities that was discovered by chance on the Mediterranean seafloor during a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) dive in the summer of 2022. This handover is an example of a non-governmental research entity executing the delivery of a discovered artifact through the appropriate channels according to rules laid out by UNESCO. A handover ceremony was held at Fort St. Angelo in Malta and attended by Dr. Owen Bonnici, The Minister for Cultural Heritage of Malta, along with representatives from OceanX, Heritage Malta, and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage. 

The amphora was found unexpectedly by university students participating in OceanX’s flagship educational program, Young Explorers, while piloting an ROV approximately 3,510 meters below the ocean surface. Professional ROV pilots then took over, carefully transferring the amphora from the seafloor into a replicated aquatic environment aboard OceanXplorer, the most advanced marine research and media vessel ever built. OceanX immediately declared the amphora’s discovery to authorities at the nearby port of Malta. Since then, OceanX has collaborated with heritage authorities in Malta to follow best practices to preserve, desalinate, and hand off the artifact. Following the handover, archaeologists will research the object to try to determine its role in maritime seaways of Late Antiquity. 

“OceanX holds itself to high ethical standards and internationally recognized best practices related to the collection, preservation, and rightful ownership of historically significant artifacts,” said Vincent Pieribone, Co-CEO and Chief Science Officer at OceanX. “We are especially grateful for the collaboration and guidance provided by the respected team at Heritage Malta to help us deliver the amphora to its appropriate jurisdiction with care and according to standards. We look forward to the artifact being fully restored, preserved, and researched for the whole world to see and learn about.” 

This collaboration between OceanX and the Republic of Malta represents a significant development for international cooperation around scientific research and the respect for authenticity and integrity of cultural objects as laid out in the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. 

“The handing over of the amphora by OceanX to Malta is an excellent example of best practice in the area of underwater cultural heritage and its management. This object will now be available for students and experts to study so as to continue to shed light on the maritime past of the ancient Mediterranean,” said Dr. Timmy Gambin, Professor of Maritime Archeology at the University of Malta. 

Over the last decade, OceanX has made significant strides in ocean research and data collection and distribution, supporting the efforts of local scientists and facilitating a deeper understanding of oceans across the European Union and globally.  

For media inquiries regarding OceanX, please contact Adriana Torres-Plaza at  

About OceanXOceanX is a mission to support scientists to explore the ocean and to bring it back to the world through captivating media. Uniting leading media, science, and philanthropy partners, OceanX utilizes next-gen technology, fearless science, compelling storytelling, and immersive experiences to educate, inspire, and connect the world with the ocean and build a global community deeply engaged with understanding, enjoying, and protecting our oceans. OceanX is an initiative of Dalio Philanthropies, which furthers the diverse philanthropic interests of Dalio family members. For more information, visit and follow OceanX on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn. 

About Heritage MaltaAs guardians of over 8,000 years of history, Heritage Malta is the national agency for museums, conservation practice and cultural heritage. With a portfolio that encompasses archaeological sites, baroque auberges and palaces, catacombs, forts, natural landscapes, and UNESCO listed Neolithic monuments, Heritage Malta is the face of the Maltese Islands. More than simply advancing the stock of intellectual and cultural capital, our vocation is to offer a mirror to society through a heritage which is ‘Part of Us’, because we are our history, and this is our cultural identity. Every generation, monument, artefact, language, specimen, and celebration have a story to share. Heritage Malta ensures that these stories are preserved for posterity and are made accessible for everyone, everywhere to experience and enjoy. 

Contact: Adriana Torres PlazaPhone: (347) 603-0154Email:

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