Chinese ceramics suggest presence of a ruler in ancient Singapore

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Excavation at Empress Place. Source: The Straits Times 20150426

Preliminary finds of a specific type Chinese Ming ware used as gifts for overseas leaders suggest that ancient Singapore may have been the seat of a local ruler who was recognised by the Chinese.

Excavation at Empress Place. Source: The Straits Times 20150426

Excavation at Empress Place. Source: The Straits Times 20150426

Archaeological discoveries dig deeper into past
The Straits Times, 26 April 2015

Archaeological discoveries keep confirming that there was a thriving community here long before Stamford Raffles “created” Singapore in the 19th century. The latest evidence suggests that Temasek, or ancient Singapore, could have had an established government with a head ruler or chieftain way back in the late 14th century.

In unearthing this evidence during a dig at Empress Place, archaeologists have shed light on gaps in knowledge of the past. Singapore’s history was supposed to have begun with the providential role of colonials who made it a functional landing post. The evidence suggests otherwise. In digging it up, the archaeological team has provided additional proof of Singapore’s international provenance as well. It has discovered Chinese imperial-grade ceramics produced between 1375 and 1425. These had been bestowed by the Ming Dynasty emperor Hongwu on overseas leaders. Although Raffles undoubtedly gave Singapore a new lease of life as a commercial city, one that lasts to this day, he was not the originator of Singapore. To say that it had flourished before him does not detract from his importance but places it in historical perspective.

Full story here.

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
Detik.com, 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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Shipwreck off Java thought to be the "biggest porcelain haul" in Indonesa

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The discovery of a shipwreck off Java promises to store a massive haul of Ming porcelain, with salvage operations beginning later this year. The Wanli Cargo (not to be mistaken with the Wanli Shipwreck in Malaysian waters) Nikolaus Graf Sandizell, CEO of Arqueonautas, one of the companies responsible for the salvage operation also got in touch with me recently to point me in the direction of their websites, the Wanli Cargo and Arquenautas Publications.

Divers inspecting the Wanli Cargo off Java, Straits Times 20110617

‘Biggest porcelain haul’ found in Indonesia
AFP via The Straits Times, 17 June 2011
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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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