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China: more than 14,000 extraordinary artefacts have been recovered from an 800-year-old wreck!

From the Chinese wreck of the Nanhai No 1, archaeologists have already excavated more than 14,000 artefacts made of precious metals. Among them were not only objects but also stocks of gold, silver, copper and ceramics. The wreck sank about 800 years ago in the South China Sea. To this day, it is one of
Published: January 18, 2016 - 18:45
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 12:44
China: more than 14,000 extraordinary artefacts have been recovered from an 800-year-old wreck!

From the Chinese wreck of the Nanhai No 1, archaeologists have already excavated more than 14,000 artefacts made of precious metals. Among them were not only objects but also stocks of gold, silver, copper and ceramics. The wreck sank about 800 years ago in the South China Sea. To this day, it is one of the most interesting discoveries made in the area.

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It must be a wonderful feeling to be able to explore a wreck whose cargo consists of tens of thousands of copper coins, magnificent objects of gold, silver or extremely valuable ceramics. Among them bottles, bowls, plates and pots, all preserved in excellent condition.

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Archaeologists report that the wooden wreck measuring 30 metres, which was found in 1987, contains about 60-80 thousand extremely valuable artefacts. Apart from the valuable metals and porcelain mentioned above, there are also goods which were traded at that time.

“The cargo found on the wreck is a wonderful and very diverse find,” – Liu Chengji of the Maritime Silk Road Museum in Yangjiang said.

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The wreck of the Nanhai No 1 is truly unique. There are not many vessels which have been excavated in their entirety from their resting place and then placed in a specially created aquarium, in conditions identical to those in which it lived for the past eight centuries. Moreover, a special museum was created for this project, of which Nanhai No 1 is the main attraction.

The ship was built between 1127 and 1279, during the Song Dynasty. According to the findings of archaeologists, the vessel probably sank during a heavy storm. Some of the items found on the wreck bear the names of the shops and places where they were made. Researchers say that this is a great evidence of a well-developed economy at the time.

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The excavated artefacts also include personal items such as jewellery in the form of necklaces, rings and bracelets. This provides evidence to support the theory that a certain number of wealthy merchants and passengers were on board the ship.

China to excavate Nanhai 1

The remains of the ship were excavated in 2007 some 20 years after its discovery. Today, the finding of Nanhai No 1 is regarded as one of the most valuable finds of Chinese underwater archaeology. In 1987 the vessel was found at a depth of about 25 metres, where it rested peacefully covered by a layer of mud and sediment. Thanks to this, it was so well preserved that it was decided to excavate it.

To get an idea of the importance of the find, its historical value is often compared to the discovery of the world-famous terracotta army from Xian.

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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