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UNESCO UNITWIN Underwater Archaeology Network


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The UNESCO UNITWIN Network is profoundly saddened to hear the news of the Ethiopian Airliner crash that included our friend and colleague Prof Sebastiano Tusa.

He played a significant role in the development of underwater archaeology globally and was a true advocate for the protection of underwater cultural heritage. He was passionate, full of energy, and leaves an outstanding track record. His legacy will live on in our field, among friends, colleagues, and students, and the many whose lives he touched. Plenus annis abiit, plenus honoribus—He is gone from us, full of years and full of honors.

Our deepest condolences go to Professor Tusa's family, and to his many colleagues and friends.


Michel L’Hour (France) wrote:

Sebastiano Tusa had for almost a year started a political life as an elected member of the Sicilian Region "assessore per i Beni culturali della Sicilia" (adviser on cultural heritage of the Sicilian government), but he was above all the founder in 1999 of GIASS (Gruppo Intervento Archeologia Subacquea Sicilia) which in 2004 became the Soprintendenza del mare of Sicily , which he ran until last year. A prehistorian by training, a subject he taught at Sister Ursula Benincasa University, he has dedicated most of his life to maritime archaeology, always with an extraordinary dynamism and energy. Since the 1990s he has been one of the leading figures in underwater archaeology in Sicily above all but also in Italy and internationally. We will limit ourselves to recalling his recent research, which has made it possible to locate with confidence, thanks to the discovery of numerous bronze spurs, about a hundred deep, the site of the naval battle of the Egadi Islands, in Sicily, which ended the first Punic War between Rome and Carthage on 10 March 241 BC.
A strange correspondence of fate wanted Sebastiano has meant that Sebastiano died the same day, March 10, 2019.
It leaves unquestionably a big void in the Italian and international underwater archeology.
Tusa was going to the Regional Conference on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Development in Eastern Africa, held on 11 March in Malindi, Kenya, where he was to deliver the opening speech.

Marnix Pieters (Belgium) wrote:

Although I don’t know Sebastiano Tusa personally, I’m familiar with his groundbreaking work related to the site of the ‘Naval battle near the Egadi Islands, 241 BC, naval battle between Rome and Carthago’. For me this is cutting-edge research on difficult underwater sites such as naval battles of an ancient past.