Secrets Of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck & Early Trade In Asia

Antiques and the Arts Weekly, 09 May 2017

In “Secrets of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia,” running through June 4 at the Asia Society Museum, 78 choice artifacts conjure trade on the flourishing maritime silk route that extended from the Abbasid caliphate to the Tang empire in the Ninth Century. As it turns out, active trading had been underway centuries before the Portuguese had arrived in search of goods and spices.

Curator Adrianna Proser hopes visitors will find the show intriguing, not only for its treasures but for its exploration “of the level of activity and exchange and trade that was crossing a large segment of the world so much earlier than people realized.”

Source: Secrets Of The Sea: A Tang Shipwreck & Early Trade In Asia

Maritime Grave Robbers Detained

The Maritime Executive, 08 May 2017: The Malaysian and Indonesian authorities have detained the MV Chuan Hong 68 and her crew, a vessel which is believed to be illegally looting shipwrecks (including war graves) in Indonesian and Malaysian waters.

 

MV Chuan Hong

Somebody has been stealing warships from Southeast Asian waters – more specifically, sunken warships, which are prized for their scrap metal value. Indonesian authorities now believe that they have caught one of the perpetrators: they allege that the 8,000 gt Chinese grab dredger Chuan Hong 68 was responsible for illegally scavenging the wrecks of the pre-WWII Japanese destroyer Sagiri, plus the passenger vessels Hiyoshi Maru and Katori Maru, the steamship Igara and the tanker Seven Skies.

It is the second time that maritime authorities have caught the Chuan Hong 68 in as many months. On April 20, the Indonesian Navy detained her in the waters off Natuna in the Riau Islands on the suspicion that she was engaged in illegal dredging. She escaped on April 22 and fled to Malaysia, where she was detained once again by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

Source: Indonesia Captures Maritime Grave Robbers

See also:
Indonesia seeks Interpol’s help to find dredger (Straits Times, 23 April 2017)
The Thieves Who Steal Sunken Warships, Right Down to the Bolts (Outside Online, 02 May 2017)
Indonesia Detains Chinese-flagged Dredger for Looting Sunken Treasure (Netral, 07 May 2017)

[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.