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.

PhD Scholarship in Underwater Archaeology

The Honor Frost Foundation and Flinders University is offering two three-year PhD Scholarships in Underwater Archaeology, one for a citizen of an Eastern Mediterranean country, but the other is open to citizens of any country. Applications close 7 December 2015.

Details here.

Nanhai No. 1 yields over 900 porcelain pieces

More images of the finds from the Nanhai No. 1 wreck have been recovered in the ongoing investigation of the wreck.

Finds from Nanhai No. 1. Source: ECNS 20150215
Finds from Nanhai No. 1. Source: ECNS 20150215

900 porcelain pieces found from shipwreck Nanhai No. 1
ECNS, 15 February 2015

Photo taken on Feb 3, 2015 shows a kettle uncovered from the wrecked ship Nanhai No. 1 at the Maritime Silk Road Museum in Hailing island of Yangjiang, South China’s Guangdong province. The 30-meter-long merchant vessel, built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), sank off the coast of Guangdong province about 800 years ago. More than 900 pieces of porcelain, about 120 gold items and thousands of silver coins have been uncovered since the excavation began, according to Sun Jian, technical director of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Protection Center of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. The discovered objects primarily are porcelain from Jingdezhen kiln in Jiangxi province, Dehua kiln in Fujian province and Longquan kiln in Zhejiang province.

More images here.

Indonesian shipwreck trove to be auctioned

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.

BBC feature on the shipwrecks of Vietnam

A beautiful multimedia feature on the shipwrecks found off the coast of Vietnam, underwater archaeology, and the problem of looting.

The Wreck Detectives, Source: BBC Magazine 201412
The Wreck Detectives, Source: BBC Magazine 201412

The Wreck Detectives
BBC Magazine
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Shipwrecks reveal ancient trade routes

A feature on the underwater archaeology of Quang Ngai province, where the Binh Chau district is particularly rich with underwater remains. There are aspirations to developing eco-tourism incorporating the maritime archaeology of the area, but the salvaging and sale of artefacts remain a problem

Shipwrecks at Quang Ngai Province. Source: Viet Nam Net 20141123
Shipwrecks at Quang Ngai Province. Source: Viet Nam Net 20141123

Shipwrecks reveal ancient trade routes
Viet Nam Net, 23 November 2014
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Job: Maritime Archaeology Assistant Professor, University of Guam

The University of Guam is looking for an assistant or associate professor in archaeology with a focus in maritime archaeology in the Western Pacific. Applications are reviewed until 20 January 2015. See full information here.

Stories from last week’s underwater archaeology conference in Vietnam

A couple of news stories arising from the underwater archaeology symposium in Quang Ngai city last week; one is about the symposium, while the other is about an associated exhibition at the Quang Ngai Museum featuring finds salvaged from the waters in the area.

The article about the conference quotes Prof Staniforth as saying that Vietnam needs a younger generation of underwater archaeologists to be trained, but I think the journalist missed the bigger point that he was trying to make. Prof. Staniforth also stressed that governments needed to be more committed in underwater archaeologists, in both the training, as well as in the legislative and enforcement frameworks for protecting underwater heritage. It is interesting to note that a number of the shipwreck finds from Vietnam are in the hands of private collectors now, being sold in markets like Singapore.

Underwater archaeology symposium in Quang Ngai City. Saigon: Vietnam Net 20141017
Underwater archaeology symposium in Quang Ngai City. Saigon: Vietnam Net 20141017

VN needs young underwater archaeologists
Vietnam Net, 17 October 2014

Quang Ngai boasts potential for underwater cultural heritage sites
Saigon Giai Phong, 17 October 2014
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17th century anchor recovered from Hue waters

While the headline on the page is about a Boddhisattva statue that changes colour with the light, of greater interest is the recovery of a large anchor in the waters of Hue, dating to around the 17th century.

Huge wooden anchor found in Hue
Vietnam Net, 13 October 2014
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In Vietnam for the Underwater Archaeology conference

This week I am reporting from Quang Ngai City in Central Vietnam, for the Southeast Asian underwater archaeology conference. The conference started today with a field trip to the Ly Son Islands to look at some of the local heritage sites.

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