Cultural relics discovered under sea

18/05/2011
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Three archaeologists check porcelain wares at the Huaguangjiao No 1 site near Xisha in the South China Sea in 2007. The shipwreck is believed to date to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Three archaeologists check porcelain wares at the Huaguangjiao No 1 site near Xisha in the South China Sea in 2007. The shipwreck is believed to date to the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

 

At a depth of 27 meters, archaeological diver Ruan Youhao found the baseline he laid along a shipwreck last July. He took a tool from his diving partner to mark several cabins in the beam of an underwater flashlight.

It was the first day of the fourth excavation of Nan’ao No 1, a sunken merchant vessel of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) that was found in 2007 in the South China Sea near Nan’ao Island, Guangdong province, after local fisherman netted porcelain ware.

In May 1984, British marine explorer Michael Hatcher discovered the wreck of the Dutch ship Geldermalsen, which sank in the South China Sea in 1751, and removed 150,000 Chinese porcelain artifacts. Those relics were sold for $20 million at a Christie’s auction in Amsterdam in 1986.

The third national cultural heritage census, in 2009, determined about 70 ancient shipwrecks lie in China’s ocean territory, but the National Conservation Center for Underwater Cultural Heritage estimates there are 2,000 or more in just the South China Sea.