Archaeologists urge Albania to protect underwater heritage

TIRANA, Albania — Researchers are urging Albanian authorities to build a museum to display hundreds of Roman and Greek artifacts and ancient shipwrecks that are sitting under Albania's least explored coastline.

Archaeologists at the Albanian Underwater Archaeology conference warned Tuesday that the wealth of underwater artifacts in the country's southwestern seabed, near the border with Greece, could easily fall prey of looters or treasure hunters.

James Goold, chairman of the Florida-based RPM Nautical Foundation, said the objects — dating from the 8th century B.C. to the two World Wars — would be a great tourist attraction if properly displayed.

Albania is trying to protect and capitalize on its rich underwater heritage, long neglected by a former communist regime offering little financial and other support. Its preservation still receives scarce funding from the government.

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