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Mediterranean countries take on archaeology project off Tunisian coast

Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia are working together on an underwater archaeological expedition, researching the Skerki Bank region off the Sicily and Tunisian coasts.
The Alfred Merlin undersea archaeologist team during the sail toward Trapani in Italy, August 2022.

The Alfred Merlin French research vessel is currently at sea. It is a highly sophisticated boat designed for the French Ministry of Culture and especially for underwater archaeology missions. Its equipment includes underwater civil drones for research. Unveiled on May 2021, its special composite reduces the boat’s environmental impact, reduces its greenhouse gas emissions, and limits its underwater vibration and noise propagation.

On Aug. 24, the Alfred Merlin departed from Trapani in Italy to the northern edge of the Skerki Bank on the Italian marine continental shelf. On board are a dozen marine archaeologists from several Mediterranean countries, including Alison Faynot who coordinates this mission on behalf of UNESCO. Algerian Nazim Bensalah, Egyptian Emad Khalil, Moroccan Azzedine Kara and Tunisian Wafa Ben Slimane are some of the other underwater archaeologists onboard.

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