Indonesian shipwreck trove to be auctioned

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Ming Dynasty jarlet from a shipwreck in the Riau Islands. Source: Detik 20150216

The contents of a shipwreck found in the waters of the Riau Islands will be split between museums in Indonesia and sold to the domestic market. This might be an interesting case to follow as an alternative way to balance the illicit salvage of underwater cultural properties against state intervention and public partnership. The finds from the ship date to the Ming Dynasty, but I am unable to determine much from the archaeology of the ship as the article is in Bahasa Indonesia. (Thanks to Shu from the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre for the heads up).

Ming Dynasty jarlet from a shipwreck in the Riau Islands. Source: Detik 20150216

Ming Dynasty jarlet from a shipwreck in the Riau Islands. Source: Detik 20150216

Harta Karun Kapal Dinasti Ming di Batam akan Dilelang, 16 February 2015

Pemerintah akan mengangkat kapal karam dari Dinasti Ming bermuatan aneka harta di Perairan Bintan, Batam, Kepulauan Riau. Bagaimana nasib harta karunnya nanti?

Kasubid Pendayagunaan Sumber Daya Kelautan KP3K Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan (KKP), Rusman Hariyanto mengatakan, usai kapal diangkat proses selanjutnya adalah pengumpulan Benda Muat Kapal Tenggelam (BMKT) dan ditempatkan sementara di salah satu gudang penyimpanan di Bintan.

Beberapa BMKT akan dipilih dan dibagikan ke beberapa museum sebagai sumber pengetahuan sejarah. Setelah itu, BMKT yang tersisa akan dilelang di pasar dalam negeri.

Full story here.

Police rush to prevent looting of 15th century shipwreck

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Police are trying to stop the looting of a shipwreck found off the coast of Vietnam’s Quang Ngai province. No details on how successful they have been, since locals have been reportedly flocking to the scene.

>Police to stop theft of shipwreck antiques [Link no longer active]
Viet Nam News, 11 Sep 2012
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Salvage work on South China Sea shipwreck resumes

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Salvage works on the wreck of the Nan’ao No. 1, a Ming Dynasty-era ship sunk off the coast of Shantou in Guangdong, China, is set to begin with the start of the good-weather season that starts from now until June.

Relics to be salvaged from ancient ship
China Daily, 10 April 2010
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Ming shipwreck to be salvaged later this year

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A 400-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Guangdong province in China, though to date to the Ming Dynasty, will be salvaged by Chinese archaeologists later this year. The find will shed light on Chinese trading activity during the reign of the Wanli emperor (1573-1620), particularly since a ban on sea trade was imposed.

China to salvage 400-year-old merchant vessel off southern coast
Xinhua, 11 March 2009
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Prehispanic artefacts in Cebu in danger from looting

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Pre-Hispanic artefacts, thought to be ceramics from the Chinese Ming Dynasty have been discovered during tunneling works in Philippines’ Cebu City. Local politicians are calling for the Philippine National Museum to take action amid reports that the artefacts are being looted and sold in the open market.

Artifacts found beneath tunnel
Cebu Daily News, 28 August 2008
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Another facet of Calatagan unveiled

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1 April 2007 (Manila Bulletin) – Talks about the archaeological finds in Calatagan, in the Batangas region of the Philippines which has a number of archaeological finds indicating trade with China and Vietnam. Calatagan is hoping to attract tourists, with one of its main attractions being the Golden Sunset Resort incorporating a museum featuring the local archaeological finds.

Another facet of Calatagan unveiled

Unknown to most, one of Asia’s major archaeological discoveries lies right in the heart of the once sleepy town of Calatagan, Batangas.

Once a bustling trading port in pre-colonial Philippines, Calatagan was home to early settlers who lived and survived by hunting, fishing, farming, textile weaving, and trade.

But in the 1950s, the whole town went agog when the National Museum conducted its very first systematic excavation. Unearthed were numerous grave sites which yielded artifacts that proved Calatagan was a busy trading port in the 14th century.

Decades of excavations brought about discoveries of artifacts, mostly ceramics of various forms and sizes like jars, plates, saucers, pitchers, jarlets, bowls, and figurines. Some artifacts were locally-made pottery, while others were clearly brought in from China, Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries.

“Archaeologists believe that the excavated objects were proof of maritime trade before the coming of the Spanish colonizers to the Philippines,” explains Wilfredo Ronquillo, chief of the Archaeology Division of the National Museum. “The existence of local and imported ceramics is proof of the extensive and vibrant trade between the early settlers of Calatagan and foreign traders.”

Also among the dug treasures are 15th century Calatagan pottery, such as earthenware plates, basins, pots, and other vessels with different patterns made by incisions and impressions.

There were also the 14th and 15th century ceramics, such as glass bracelets, bowls, and vessels from the Ming Dynasty (China), Celadon and Sawankhalok vessels (Thailand and Indo-China), as well as Annamese vessels (Vietnam).

Related Books:
The Calatagan Excavations: Two 15th Century Burial Sites in Batangas, Philippines by R. B. Fox
Oriental Ceramics Discovered in the Philippines by L. Locsin and C. Locsin

More proof that Zheng He founded America?

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17 June 2006 (The Straits Times, by way of the Singapore Heritage mailing list) – A Ming dynasty medal unearthed in North Carolina suggest Chinese contact with America before Columbus. The 1421 thesis is highly controversial and academics have provided a point-by-point rebuttal of Gavin Menzies’ work in 1421 Exposed. (Unfortunately, the Straits Times is a pay-site and a link cannot be provided. I’d be happy to forward the article to you if you email me.)

More proof that Zheng He founded America?

MORE evidence has been unearthed which suggests that Chinese Ming dynasty explorer Zheng He might have founded America decades before Christopher Columbus did in the late 15th century.

A seven-cm-wide brass medal, complete with Ming dynasty inscriptions and dug up kilometres inland from the North Carolina coast, was yesterday unveiled here for the first time.

The six-Chinese-character inscription, ‘Da Ming Xuan De Wei Ci’, on the medal translates into ‘Awarded by Xuan De of Great Ming’. It refers to the period between 1426 and 1435, the reign of Emperor Xuan Zong – long before Columbus landed in the New World in 1492.

This, claimed the medal’s owner Lee Siu Leung, ties in with the fact that Xuan Zong had, in 1430, commissioned Admiral Zheng to embark on his last voyage to announce his accession to the throne to foreign nations.