800-year-old ship on 'Marine Silk Road' to be recovered

Updated: 2007-12-21 09:53

The pool, named "Crystal Palace" is 64 meters long, 40 meters wide and 23 meters high. It contains seawater and is about 12 meters in depth.

"It will be sealed after the ship and the silt are put in," said Feng Shaowen, head of the cultural bureau of Yangjiang City, Guangdong Province.

Feng said visitors would be able watch the on-going excavation of the ship through windows on two sides of the pool.

As early as 2,000 years ago, ancient Chinese traders began taking china, silk and cloth textiles and other commodities to foreign countries along the trading route. It started from ports at today's Guangdong and Fujian provinces to countries in southeast Asia, Africa and Europe.

Nanhai No.1, accidentally found in 1987, was located some 20 sea miles west of Hailing Island of Yangjiang City in South China's Guangdong Province, in more than 20 meters of water.

Green glazed porcelain plates, tin pots, shadowy blue porcelains and other rare antiques have all been found during the initial exploration of the ship.

Guangdong has earmarked 150 million yuan (US$20.3 million) to build a "Marine Silk Road Museum" to preserve the salvaged ancient ship.

Unlike the traditional practice of excavating relics on sunken ships first and then salvaging the vessel, no more relic excavations would be made until the boat "gets used to its new home," said Wu.

"Actually, archaeologists will conduct thorough excavations of the ship later in the pool."

It is believed that a successful salvage would offer important material evidence for the study of China's history in seafaring, shipbuilding and ceramics manufacture.

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