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Descending beneath the waves, the cloudy first few meters quickly give way to clear waters and an astonishing sight – dozens, perhaps hundreds, of tightly packed ancient vases lie on the seabed, testament to some long-forgotten trader's unfortunate voyage more than 1,600 years ago.Off the rugged shores of Albania, one of the world's least explored underwater coastlines, lies a wealth of treasures: ancient amphorae – long, narrow terracotta vessels – that carried olive oil and wine along trade routes between north Africa and the Roman Empire, wrecks with hidden tales of heroism and treachery from two world wars, and spectacular rock formations and marine life.Even today, diving is forbidden on any wreck – ship or plane – built more than 50 years ago, regardless of when it sank.Albania is going for a more balanced approach.Using a combination of divers and high-tech equipment including sonar and a remotely operated underwater vehicle, or ROV, its research vessel has discovered nearly 40 shipwrecks.Known as the Joni wreck, it was a merchant vessel estimated to have had about four crew members and a cargo of mainly of north African amphorae.
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