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Preface The subject of this book is the maritime history of the Maltese Islands, from the first human occupation until the present day. It is the first time that a comprehensive history covering the eight thousand years of Maltese history has been attempted. I was inspired to study the complete record of Maltese maritime history during the time I spent conducting the first systematic underwater archaeology survey of the archipelago: the scarcity of submerged archaeological material, when juxtaposed with the presumed abundance of maritime activity around the islands, was an anomaly that needed to be addressed through an analysis of the survey results and historical record. In the end, the extreme paucity of the underwater archaeological record has been the most significant result of my fieldwork, and this book details my views regarding the reasons why no such evidence could be discovered. My opinions are based on historical data, and my reasoning is based on my interdisciplinary approach to maritime history and archaeology. I offer in this volume a general overview of essential facts, geographic and oceanographic factors that affected the navigation of historic ships, major relevant historical texts and documents, and the underwater archaeological remains of maritime activities (and lack thereof); I then offer an alternative interpretation of how the history of the archipelago evolved within a wider Mediterranean context. This book is intended for general readers who wish to learn something about the maritime past of Malta, specialists looking for an introductory text to Maltese history, and students who are beginning to study Mediterranean history. I hope that this book will inspire other scholars to study the details of subjects and issues presented here and will help to answer some of the questions raised. Clearly, in a book with so large a chronological scope, much of what I say is based on a synthesis of the research of others. The bibliography offers a comprehensive list of specialists whose works contributed to my understanding of the subject. ...

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