via Thairath, 03 September 2018: News reports of a 100-year-old steamship found in the waters of Rayong. The shipwreck is not a new discovery – but there are some interesting pictures of the finds. There is a particularly interesting account by a diver saying that no fisherman or diver go near the site for fear of the paranormal. The article is in Thai.
Malaysia firms plunder sunken wrecks for rare steel used to make sensitive medical, scientific equipment
via The Straits Times, 27 Feb 2018: New research on the illegal plunder of shipwrecks in Southeast Asian waters highlight the role of Malaysian firms
SE Asia News -PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Some Malaysian salvage firms are working with an international syndicate to plunder sunken wartime wrecks in search for rare and highly-sought low-background steel, used in sensitive medical and scientific equipment.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
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…
Natali Pearson discusses the recent cases of underwater looting of World War II shipwrecks in Indonesia
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.
An exhibition in the the heritage town of Hoi An showcases a vast array of artefacts retrieved from Vietnam’s waters in recent years.
Exhibition dedicated to shipwreck artifacts taking place in central Vietnam
Tuoi Tre News, 13 September 2015
Over 1,000 time-honored objects and specimens retrieved from sea wreckage are being displayed in a newly inaugurated exhibition hall in the central province of Quang Nam.
The People’s Committee of Hoi An City, home to the UNESCO-recognized Hoi An Ancient Town, on Saturday opened the hall, housed in a storm shelter structure in Tan Hiep Commune.
The space is dedicated to preserving and displaying articles scooped up from shipwrecks off Cu Lao Cham Island, 15km off the province’s coast, and its neighboring waters.
Full story here.
Archaeologists in Malaysia working at the Sungei Batu archaeological site have reportedly discovered the remains of several shipwrecks, but funds are lacking to investigate further. The finds are consistent with previous work at the site which has uncovered the presence of jetties and the former river in the area.
Bernama, 31 August 2015
Ancient shipwrecks find may force a rewrite of SEA history
The Star, 02 September 2015
Using ground penetrating radar, archaelogists have discovered outlines of more than five ships between 5m and 10m underground at the Sungai Batu Archaelogical Site, near Semeling, about 20km from here.
“This was once an ancient river with a width of about 100m and a depth of 30m. Now it is a swampy wetland,” said archaelogical team member Azman Abdullah.
Signs of the first shipwreck was unearthed in 2011 not far from the ruins of a jetty made of flattish square bricks.
“We dug until we found a 2m-long mast head lying horizontally. The wood had softened but it was still miraculously well preserved.
“We were excited and dug through the wet mud every day,” said Azman, 54. To the team’s horror, the excavation pit collapsed in 2012 after they reached a depth of 5m.
Fulls stories here.and
Underwater archaeologist Michael Flecker talks about the archaeology of the Spratley islands and how archaeology may help defuse arguments by China over the South China Sea.
Archaeology could wreck China’s sea claims
Today, 06 May 2015
No country has demonstrated that they have historical rights to the Spratlys, simply because it is, and always has been, Dangerous Ground, a place to avoid at all costs. China’s claim to a large chunk of the South China Sea on historical grounds does not seem to be indisputable.
But perhaps this is just as evident to China as it is to me. Perhaps, it is only a game that will have served its purpose once the islands have been created and the military facilities have been built and manned. Perhaps then China will happily participate in bilateral or even multilateral discussions, with the history card taken off the table.
Full story here.
Indonesian archaeologists survey the waters of the Riau Islands province, finding a number of shipwrecks beneath the waters.
Arkeolog Teliti Temuan Artefak Kapal Kuno di Natuna
Kompas, 03 May 2015
Article is in Bahasa Indonesia
Lima artefak kapal dari abad ke-10 hingga ke-19 Masehi ditemukan di wilayah perairan Kepulauan Natuna, Kepulauan Riau. Temuan tersebut menguatkan bahwa Natuna merupakan titik penting dalam jalur pelayaran perdagangan internasional yang menghubungkan Tiongkok dengan kawasan Asia Tenggara.
Selama dua pekan, 14-25 April 2015, lima penyelam dari Pusat Arkeologi Nasional menyelami tiga lokasi di wilayah Laut Tiongkok Selatan. Ada tiga lokasi yang menjadi target utama penyelaman, yaitu Pulau Buton, Pulau Laut, dan Karang Antik. Namun, para peneliti hanya berhasil memetakan temuan di Buton dan Karang Antik.
“Kondisi arus sedang deras saat kami berada di Pulau Laut,” ujar Priyatno Hadi, peneliti madya di Pusat Arkeologi Nasional, Kamis (22/4/2015). Pulau Laut ini merupakan wilayah terluar batas geografis Indonesia dengan Laut Tiongkok Selatan. Para peneliti belum mengetahui apakah artefak kapal karam itu berteknologi kapal Asia Tenggara atau Tiongkok.
Full story here.
Dr Michael Flecker will be speaking at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre later this month on the shipwrecks and territorial claims in the South China Sea.
Shipwreck Finds in the Spratlys: The Implications on Territorial Claims
Venue: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Singapore
Date: 28 April 2015
Time: 3 – 4.30pm
Way back in 1993, the speaker had the good fortune to investigate some of the Vietnamese-occupied reefs in the Spratly Archipelago, the Dangerous Ground marked on maritime charts. The aim was to discover Chinese, Southeast Asian and European shipwrecks that struck the western-most reefs while sailing downwind on the northeast monsoon. Plenty of shipwrecks were found, but none contained the dreamt of piles of glistening celadon or blue-and-white porcelain.
New evidence of ancient maritime trade was anticipated. Unfortunately, the late 19th century does not qualify as ancient. Fortunately, a lack of discoveries can be as important as an abundance. Such is the case in the Spratly ‘Archipelago’, a group of reefs and islets in the middle of the South China Sea, claimed in whole or in part by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines. Many islets and reefs are occupied, and several are now being reclaimed. The quest for oil and fish may have been the driving force in the past, but the current push is strategic.
China has been more forceful than most. Their nine-dashed line encompasses pretty much all of the South China Sea down to Indonesia’s Natuna Islands. While words have been ambiguous, actions have not. It would seem that virtually the entire sea and seabed are being claimed, along with the reefs and rocks. And this claim is ‘indisputable’, largely on historical grounds. What other grounds could there be when the closest reef lies nearly 500 nautical miles from Hainan?
This lecture delves into the archaeological evidence that may support, or counter, a historical claim. Texts are subject to interpretation and can take us only so far. Shipwreck hulls and cargoes can be definitively identified. They can be reasonably accurately dated. They can tell us who was there, and often why they were there. As far as voyaging throughout the South China Sea is concerned, the Southeast Asians, and later the Arabs, were active well before the Chinese ventured beyond their southern shores in the 11th or 12th century. Having achieved a degree of maritime prowess, did the Chinese have any reason to risk the Dangerous Ground in the distant past? Let’s see.
Registration required, information here.