via ISEAS, March 2022: The preliminary report on one of the shipwrecks found off Pedra Branca in Singapore has been published online.
While salvaging a steel barge off Pedra Branca in early 2015, commercial divers noticed intact ceramic plates on the seabed. Samples were brought to the ISEAS – Yusof-Ishak Institute where they were identified as 14th-century Longquan green-ware. An archaeological survey later confirmed an extensive shipwreck site, now designated the Temasek Wreck, with not just green-ware but also blue-and-white porcelain, shufu-ware and qingbai-ware from Jingdezhen, and brown-ware from Guangdong or Cizao in Fujian province. An excavation carried out in stages over four years resulted in the recovery of approximately 4.4 tonnes of ceramics, mostly shards, and a handful of non-ceramic artefacts. None of the ship’s structure had survived. Without any hull remains it is impossible to conclusively identify the type of ship. However, from circumstantial evidence such as an exclusive Chinese cargo and an absence of non-Chinese artefacts, there is a high probability that the ship was a Chinese junk. She contained more Yuan dynasty blue-and-white porcelain than any other documented shipwreck in the world. From an analysis of this rare and important cargo element it would seem that the wreck dates between 1340 and 1371. From the location of the wreck, the many parallel finds from Singapore terrestrial sites, and importantly a common dearth of large blue-and-white plates, the ancient port of Singapore (Temasek) was the most likely intended destination.