[Talk] Green, Blue, and White: The Tang Shipwreck Ceramic and Precious Metal Cargo and Global Trade in Medieval Asia

In conjunction with the Belitung Shipwreck exhibition at the Asia Society in New York, John Guy will be giving a lecture on 22 May which will also be broadcast live on the web.

Scholar and curator John Guy explores the unique insights that shipwreck archaeology can bring to our understanding of historical trade and exchange in ancient Asia.

Source: Green, Blue, and White: The Tang Shipwreck Ceramic and Precious Metal Cargo and Global Trade in Medieval Asia | New York | Asia Society

WWII-era shipwreck found off Koh Rong

A suspected World War II Japanese shipwreck was discovered in Cambodian waters.


A group of six divers led by The Dive Shop Cambodia owner Dennis Funke have discovered what they believe is the wreckage of a Japanese merchant vessel sunk by a US Navy submarine during World War II. The cargo ship is suspected to be the steam-powered Burma Maru, and was discovered on Tuesday last week over the course of a two-day dive. The find was the result of nearly five years of research.

Source: WWII-era shipwreck found off Koh Rong, National, Phnom Penh Post

Shipwreck found in 2014 could be HMS Tamar: preliminary report

Find in Hong Kong waters thought to be scuttled British ship from World War II.


A large metal object that was found in 2014 in the seabed near the Wan Chai coastline, along with other stuff that was discovered later, is very likely the wreck of HMS Tamar, a famous British troop carrier from World War II, a preliminary archaeological assessment report says.  According to a 41-page report that was…

Source: Shipwreck found in 2014 could be HMS Tamar: preliminary report

Ghost ships: why are World War II naval wrecks vanishing in Indonesia?

Natali Pearson discusses the recent cases of underwater looting of World War II shipwrecks in Indonesia

Sunken World War II warships, the final resting place for thousands of sailors, have been disappearing in Indonesia. But so far there’s been little action taken to ensure their protection.

Source: Ghost ships: why are World War II naval wrecks vanishing in Indonesia?

Remains of a trading port in Central Vietnam

Archaeologists working in Central Vietnam’s Binh Dinh province have discovered the remains of a trading port that was in use during the 17-19th centuries.

Ceramic piece from China, c. 17-18th centuries. Source: Viet Nam Net 20160726
Ceramic piece from China, c. 17-18th centuries. Source: Viet Nam Net 20160726

Ancient Binh Dinh port unearthed
Viet Nam Net, 26 July 2016

Archaeological evidence of an old trading port have been found at a recent excavation conducted in the central Binh Dinh Province.

The research was carried out by scientists from the Vietnam Archaeology Institute and the local provincial museum.
Researcher Bui Van Hieu from the institute, who led the excavation, said though the area excavated this time was not large, scientists found thousands of evidence and objects valuable to studying the whole site.

Full story here.

Anchor and cannon found off Hong Kong

Divers in Hong Kong discovered a large anchor stock and a cannon, the former dating to the Song Dynasty.

Hong Kong’s sunken treasure: ancient anchor and cannon reveal our rich maritime history
South China Morning Post, 19 July 2016

Two monumental artefacts were recovered over the weekend by a local diving group, marking a maritime heritage milestone for Hong Kong.

A diving team from the Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group recovered an anchor stock – the upper part of an anchor – around Basalt Island, and a cannon off the coast of High Island. The anchor stock is believed to date back to the Song Dynasty, making it over 1,000 years old – Hong Kong’s oldest marine artefact.

“It’s important for Hong Kong’s [maritime] history because it’s evidence to show that Hong Kong is a location worth investigating,” Dr Libby Chan Lai-pik, senior curator at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum said. The museum is a sponsor of the Underwater Heritage Group.

“The anchor is proof that Hong Kong was perhaps quite advanced during the Song Dynasty in terms of water transport and commercial trade.”

Full story here.

Discovered boat dates to Angkorian period

Radiocarbon dating of a dugout boat discovered in Angkor indicates it was from the 13th century.

13th century boat found in Angkor. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160727
13th century boat found in Angkor. Source: Phnom Penh Post 20160727

Tests confirm Angkor boat made in 1207 AD
Phnom Penh Post, 27 June 2016

Boat Estimated to be 800 Years Old
Khmer Times, 27 June 2016

A boat unearthed at a construction site in Siem Reap’s Angkor Thom district in April was made in 1207 AD, according to carbon dating results announced on Friday.

The 809-year-old vessel was carved from a single tree trunk during the reign of King Jayavarman VII.

Apsara Authority spokesman Long Kosal said the results, produced by a radio carbon dating lab in New Zealand, were announced at the biannual meeting of the International Coordinating Committee for Angkor.

“I believe this is the oldest boat that has been found so far,” Kosal said.

Full stories here and here.

Dugout discovered in Siem Reap

The remains of a dugout boat, some 13m long, was discovered in Siem Reap and is being investigated for its archaeological potential.

Dugout boat found in the Angkor Thom district. Phnom Penh Post, 20160411
Dugout boat found in the Angkor Thom district. Phnom Penh Post, 20160411

Boat found at Siem Reap work site could be ancient artefact
Phnom Penh Post, 11 April 2016

Archaeology authorities are eagerly waiting to discover the true age of a potentially ancient boat after it was dredged up from the sandy depths in Siem Reap on Friday afternoon.

The 12.83-metre vessel was carved out from a single tree trunk and was unearthed some 7 metres underground at a construction site in Angkor Thom district, Apsara Authority spokesperson Long Kosal said.

A sample of the rare find has been sent for carbon dating to determine its age.

“From our point of view, this is the first boat of its kind that we’ve seen,” Kosal said.

“We cannot make any assumption or conclusion … but we believe this could be from ancient times.”

The boat is now lying submerged in the moat around Angkor Wat for preservation.

Full story here.

Nanhai No. 1 reveals details of the maritime silk route

A feature on the ongoing excavation of the Nanhai No. 1, a shipwreck discovered off the coast of Guangdong province in China.

Feature: Ancient shipwreck unlocks secrets of Maritime Silk Road
Xinhua, 02 Feb 2016

The Maritime Silk Road, like the ancient Silk Road, was not only a route of trade, but of communication among civilizations.

“Coastal Guangdong holds the DNA of China’s external exchanges and trade,” says Long Jiayou, director with the Guangdong Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau.

Guangdong had the longest history and most external associations of the Chinese regions on the route.

“Guangdong is also on the route of China’s Belt and Road initiative with its long history and massive overseas trade volume,” says Long.

The Belt and Road Initiative aims to boost connectivity and common development along the ancient land and maritime Silk Roads.

The excavation of the Nanhai No. 1 adds historic significance.

“It has brought China new concepts, innovative methods and technologies in underwater archeology. Moreover, it is a crucial model for the protection of relics along the Maritime Silk Road,” says Long.

Full story here.

14,000 artefacts recovered from Nanhai No. 1

Chinese archaeologists report that over 14,00 artefacts have so far been recovered from the Nanhai No. 1, a Song Dynasty era ship that was recovered from the South China Sea.

Hoard of relics salvaged from ancient Chinese ship
Business Standard, 10 January 2016

Ancient Chinese ship yields hoards of relics
The Hindu, 10 January 2016

China: 14,000 gold, silver and copper relics recovered from 800-year-old shipwreck
International Business Times, 11 January 2016

14,000 relics recovered from ancient Chinese ship
CNTV.cn, 12 January 2016

More than 14,000 relics have been retrieved from an ancient cargo ship after it was salvaged from a depth of 30 metres below the surface of the South China Sea in late 2007, Chinese archaeologists said on Saturday.

Most of the relics are porcelain products, such as pots, bottles, bowls and plates produced by then famous kilns in places now known as Jiangxi, Fujian and Zhejiang, said Liu Chengji, deputy head of the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Xinhua reported.

As of January 5, archaeologists have also excavated hundreds of gold, silver and copper relics and about 17,000 copper coins.

Full story here.