Xlendi, Malta

Mission director: Timmy Gambin, University of Malta

full screen

xlendi 3D model

*2014 photogrammetry: COMEX and CNRS -- 2016-17 survey: Timmy Gambin and his team, photogrammetry: Kari Hyttinen.


This work, started on July 2014 and carried out with the support of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage of Malta, is financed by the National Research Agency within the framework of the GROPLAN project whose objective is the identification and location of objects in the studied archaeological sites.

Over the past years, local heritage authorities in Malta have conducted a number of systematic remote sensing surveys off the coasts of the Maltese Islands. One such collaborative project resulted in the discovery of a well-preserved ancient shipwreck. From initial studies conducted on the site it was established that the site is datable to approximately 7th century BC at a depth of 110 m. This shipwreck may offer new and significant information about Phoenician seafaring and trade in the central Mediterranean during the archaic period. To date, little is known about the earliest contact of Phoenician mariners with the Maltese islands. Most archaeological evidence stems mainly from funerary evidence. This discovery may be considered as one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Malta datable to the early Phoenician period, because it was established that the bulk of the cargo still remains buried in the sediments.

The archaeological site survey is carried out by photogrammetry. This technique is effective when it is a difficult area of access where human intervention is difficult or even impossible, and requires a low cost implementation and in a short time. We work on documents composed of theoretical 3D models, photographs and 3D dense point clouds. The use of a remote operated vehicle, side scan sonar and a sub bottom profiler enabled the discovery, study and assessment of this deepwater shipwreck.

Survey co-directed by:
Archaeology: Timmy Gambin University of Malta, Jean-Christophe Sourisseau, CCJ, CNRS
Marine operation: Bertrand Chemisky, COMEX
Photogrammetry: Pierre Drap, LSIS, CNRS

Here a video of the first campain and the first results of photogrammetric restitution: ortophoto and 3D model.

Ortophoto and 3D mesh model

Here you see the ortophoto made by photogrammetric restitution. Approximately 5000 high resolution photographs have been oriented and 330 milion 3D points computed. A mesh with 200 milion triangles have been generated and an high definition orthophoto have been computed. Link here or through the image below.

Xlendi orthophoto

Below the 3D mesh model loaded with Sketchfab. Navigate or start animation and take screenshot, scroll down to select amphora name and see its location.