The famed Tang Treasures recovered from the Belitung Shipwreck are now being displayed to the public (for the first time, I believe) at the new ArtScience Museum in Singapore. The wreck, which was excavated slightly over a decade ago is unique for the quantity of the artefacts recovered and its unusual context: primarily Chinese cargo in what is essentially a Arab-style boat. This editorial from Wreck Watch discusses the excavation and display of the Tang Treasures in the larger treasure-hunting and public interest context.
Editorial: Tang Treasures, Monsoon Winds and a Storm in a Teacup
Wreck Watch International, 13 March 2011
The Belitung wreck is not just a cracking discovery, it is also a symbol of cross-border unity, which I find uplifting and encouraging: an â€˜Arabâ€™ ship sailing from China to the Islamic Middle East excavated by a German company under Indonesian license, whose crucial wood identification was achieved by a Jew in an Israeli university laboratory. Doesnâ€™t that sound like a fitting definition of Rule 8 of the Annex of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, whereby â€œInternational cooperation in the conduct of activities directed at underwater cultural heritage shall be encouraged in order to further the effective exchange or use of archaeologists and other relevant professionalsâ€?