Friday, June 08, 2007


Experts Divided on Function of Archaeological Find

June 08, 2007

Archeologists are proffering their guesses as to the function of a ring excavated from the "Nanhai No.1" undersea archeological site, according to Guangzhou Daily reports.

Tong Mingkang, vice director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, made the guess after he visited the archeological site in person, saying the so-called bracelet made of pure gold may actually be a semi-finished ornate door knocker.

Tong said that the ring is too big to be a bracelet; bracelets often measure six or seven centimeters in diameter, while this particular ring measures about 10 centimeters. Furthermore, bracelets are typically complete circles, while this artifact has the upper section left open. Tong said he thinks this part may have been attached to a door or a trunk.

Tong's opinion gained support from some local citizens, who concurred that the ring does indeed resemble the knockers on the doors of their traditional homes.

However, other experts firmly believe that the salvaged objects are bracelets.

Archeologist Du Yubing said that, in ancient China, the social hierarchy was strictly defined and adhered to. This ring, made from valuable gold, matches the style of the era’s imperial class. Additionally, based on the fact that the "Nanhai No.1" was exporting goods to consumers at the other end of the maritime Silk Road, Du said, this ring is more likely to be a bracelet.

Other experts say that if the gold ring is a door-knocker, there is a chance that the attachment might be found somewhere in or around the wreckage.

Nanhai No.1 was found accidentally in 1987. The ship, more than 25 meters long, is the largest cargo ship from the Song Dynasty so far discovered.

The total value of the shipwreck may be over US$100 billion.


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