Tuesday, October 6, 2009

200 Valuable Porcelain Artifacts Found on Ancient Chinese Merchant Vessel

GUANGZHOU, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists have discovered more than
200 precious porcelain artifacts on an 800-year-old merchant ship in the southern province of

The 40-day trial excavation ended Saturday and a massive excavation would start next
year, said Wei Jun, an archaeologist leading the excavation.
The Nanhai (South China Sea) No. 1 ship from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) was loaded
with an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 pieces of relics.
Archaeologists have also found well-preserved cabin, board and deck in the trial

They had recovered more than 4,000 artifacts of gold, silver and porcelain, and about
6,000 copper coins on the merchant ship while it was still on the seabed.

Discovered in mid-1987 off the coast near Yangjiang City, the 5,000-tonne Nanhai No. 1
was recognized as one of the oldest and biggest merchant boats sunk in Chinese waters.
Experts said the well-preserved vessel has offered more evidence for the existence of an
ancient maritime trade route linking China and the West.

The site of the excavation

The ship, 30.4 meters long and 9.8 meters wide, was salvaged off the coast of Guangdong
and moved to its purpose-built "Crystal Palace" at the Marine Silk Road Museum in Yangjiang
in December 2007.

The glass pool features a water temperature, pressure and other environmental conditions
that were the same as where the ship had rested on the sea floor for centuries.

Another news article.

Here's an article about the opening of the Marine Silk Road Museum

'Marine Silk Road' museum will house ancient wreck

By Zheng Caixiong (China Daily)

Guangdong has decided to invest in studying and developing its rich ancient cultural, oceanic and historical resources to showcase its glorious past and promote the tourism industry, according to Jing Lihu, deputy director of the Guangdong Provincial Bureau of Culture.

The construction of a large museum designed to display more than 300,000 historical relics began in this coastal city on December 6.

The China Marine Silk Road Museum, which is scheduled to be completed and opened to the public before the end of 2007, will mainly collect and exhibit ancient vessels and their contents, to be salvaged from the South China Sea.

Guangdong has been a commercial and trading hub in South China since ancient times. The museum is the largest cultural project to be built in the province, with an investment of more than 190 million yuan (US$23 million), Jing said.

Set on the beach of Yangjiang's Hailing Island, some 200 kilometres from Guangzhou, the museum covers an area of more than 130,000 square metres and will be the largest theme museum of its kind in Asia.

The most exciting part of the museum will be a huge crystal case, especially for the Nanhai No 1 vessel, which is scheduled to be brought up from the sea bed by 2007.

The vessel sank about 1,000 years ago, 20 metres below the surface of the waters, 20 nautical
miles away from Hailing Island.

A study centre of the China Marine Silk Road will be also set up in the museum, looking at social and economic development in the southern Chinese region in ancient dynasties.

The museum also includes a water stage for performances related to topics of the ancient China Marine Silk Road.

Yangjiang is expected to become a new tourist attraction in the southern Chinese region, according to Zheng Youjian, vice-mayor of Yangjiang. The city is now known for its kitchen
knives and scissors.

A diving club, a sailing club, a pedestrian shopping street and other facilities will also be built near the museum to help attract and entertain tourists from around the world.


Anonymous. 2009. "200 Valuable Porcelain Artifacts Found on Ancient Chinese Merchant Vessel". Xinhuanet.com. Posted: September 26, 2009. Available online: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-09/26/content_12114668.htm

Caixiong, Zheng. 2004. "'Marine Silk Road' museum will house ancient wreck". ChinaDaily. Posted: December 14, 2004. Available online: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2004-12/14/content_399970.htm

No comments: