Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Nanhai one´s in underwater archaeology

February 05, 2008

Nanhai one(Xinhua photo)

There's been much hype surrounding the sunken ancient Chinese merchant boat, which was raised from the depths of South China Sea in December. But there's more to it than the public storm.

And over the weekend, they also showcased some of the earliest finds from the vessel.

Archeologists say the Nanhai One, or "South China Sea One," China's first underwater archeological find, is also the most important one so far. China launched its underwater archaeology campaign in 1987, the year Nanhai One was discovered.

After twenty years of development, China is now a leader in this field in Asia. Archaeologists give a lot of credit to the discovery of Nanhai One.

Prof. Zhang Wei, Underwater Archaeology Research Center, said, "The discovery provided us a lot of valuable experience in underwater archaeology. It's something of a blessing for us, as a young team then, to find this cultural relic, recognized as one of the oldest and biggest merchant boat sunk in South China Sea."

The merchant ship was loaded with porcelain when it sank 800 years ago.

Archaeologists have recovered more than four thousand containers made of gold, silver and porcelain, as well as about six thousand copper coins of the Song Dynasty, when the Nanhai was built.

The Song Dynasty was the first peak of the China's porcelain industry. Products were exported to east, south and west Asia, as well as the east coast of Africa, and the use of porcelain was seen as a status symbol.

The 30-meter-long vessel was lifted from two-meter-thick silt in December. Experts say the Nanhai One might confirm the existence of an ancient maritime trade route linking China and the West.


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