UNESCO World Heritage Centre – UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes

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The Maritime Silk Route would naturally include many Southeast Asian stops.

UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes

There has been much discussion about possible strategies for the nominations on the UNESCO World Heritage List of the impact of maritime trade on the cultures and civilizations between East and West often referred to as the ‘Maritime Silk Routes’. The aim of this UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes, which will be held on 30-31 May 2017 in London, is to bring together scholars who have worked on the history, archaeology, and heritage of maritime interactions across this vast area in order to discuss the strategy for further research, as well as the development of a platform to enter into a possible dialogue with the States Parties of the World Heritage Convention along the Maritime Silk Routes.

Source: UNESCO World Heritage Centre – UNESCO Expert Meeting for the World Heritage Nomination Process of the Maritime Silk Routes

Nanhai No. 1 reveals details of the maritime silk route

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A feature on the ongoing excavation of the Nanhai No. 1, a shipwreck discovered off the coast of Guangdong province in China.

Feature: Ancient shipwreck unlocks secrets of Maritime Silk Road
Xinhua, 02 Feb 2016

The Maritime Silk Road, like the ancient Silk Road, was not only a route of trade, but of communication among civilizations.

“Coastal Guangdong holds the DNA of China’s external exchanges and trade,” says Long Jiayou, director with the Guangdong Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau.

Guangdong had the longest history and most external associations of the Chinese regions on the route.

“Guangdong is also on the route of China’s Belt and Road initiative with its long history and massive overseas trade volume,” says Long.

The Belt and Road Initiative aims to boost connectivity and common development along the ancient land and maritime Silk Roads.

The excavation of the Nanhai No. 1 adds historic significance.

“It has brought China new concepts, innovative methods and technologies in underwater archeology. Moreover, it is a crucial model for the protection of relics along the Maritime Silk Road,” says Long.

Full story here.

Symposium: The Belitung Shipwreck and the Maritime Silk Route

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Readers in Toronto may be interested in a symposium on the Belitung Shipwreck held in conjunction with the exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum.

Aga Khan Museum_Exhibition_Lost-Dhow_800x450_1

The Belitung Shipwreck and the Maritime Silk Route – Symposium
28 February 2015
10am – 5pm
Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada

The discovery of the 9th-century Belitung shipwreck in the Java Sea in 1998 revealed an astonishing cargo of close to 60,000 Tang period ceramic vessels as well as a rare collection of intricately worked silver and gold boxes, bronze mirrors, and silver ingots. It also revealed some of the belongings of an international crew that was once on board of this Arab trade ship.

The Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, and the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, are co-hosting a one-day symposium about the shipwreck’s discovery, excavation, its exceptional Tang period cargo, and the important narratives it provides of an active cultural and commercial maritime silk route. International experts discuss the maritime silk route, including the Belitung shipwreck and other recently excavated shipwrecks in the Indian Ocean. The symposium includes a round-table discussion of the historical and ethical implications of shipwrecks and the role of museums as venues for exploring and showcasing archaeological materials.

Details here.

China’s maritime silk road World Heritage Site proposal includes disputed areas

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China’s increasing presence in the South China Sea has been worrying for Southeast Asia and underwater archaeology has played a role in strengthening China’s claim over the sea, over equally legitimate claims by countries like Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam. China’s is aiming to list the maritime silk road as a World Heritage Site and one could interpret the inclusion of disputed sites as a way to strengthen her claim on territories. Something to keep an eye on in the future – since the maritime silk route was not exclusively used by China and was a truly international trade route that would make better sense with many countries sharing the site listing together.

China looks for UNESCO approval in disputed S China Sea waters
Xinhua, 13 July 2014
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Exhibition showcases Vietnam's role in the maritime silk route

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A new exhibition opening in May at the National Museum of History in Hanoi will highlight Vietnam’s role over maritime trade over the east sea, or the South China Sea.

Thanh Nien News, 20120308

Thanh Nien News, 20120308

Hanoi museum to host Silk Road on East Sea exhibition
Thanh Nien News, 08 March 2012
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China offers to help Sri Lanka in shipwreck search

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In what is seen as an attempt to extend the country’s reach, China has offered help with detecting shipwrecks along Sri Lanka’s coastline. Sri Lanka would have been an important stop along the maritime silk route in ancient times.

China offers S.Lanka help to find Silk Route wrecks
AFP, via MSN News, 18 January 2012
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Conference: Ancient Silk Trade Routes in Southeast Asia

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Readers in Singapore may be interested in this conference held at the Singapore Management University. Registration closes 15 September.

Ancient Silk Trade Routes – Cross Cultural Exchange and Legacy in Southeast Asia
27–28 October 2011
Singapore Management University
Registration details here
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China identifies 30 more shipwrecks

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China’s Oceanic Administration announced the discovery of 30 shipwreck sites in Chinese waters identified between 2004 and 2009. Many of the sites are located in the waters of China’s southeast coast, which is the gateway for maritime trade between China and Southeast Asia.

China discovers 30 archaeological shipwreck sites
The China Post, 14 December 2010
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China's ventures into its underwater past

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Maritime trade between China and the rest of the world (often passing through Southeast Asia) has been around for nearly 2,000 years, but it has only been in the recent past that China has built up the capability to undertake archaeological investigations underwater.

The ‘Other’ Silk Road: China Peers Into Maritime Past
NPR, 02 July 2010
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Chinese archaeologists get green light to salvage more from 800-year-old wreck

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Chinese archaeologists receive approval to search an 800-year-old shipwreck, the Nanhai No. 1, for more artifacts. The wreck is currently in a sealed pool in the Marine Silk Road Museum at China’s Guangdong Province. Artifacts already recovered from the shipwreck show that China was taking part in international trade with the other side of the old world.

Ancient shipwreck to be trawled for treasures
China Daily, 22 June 2009
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