Chinese research vessels Explore 1 and Explore 2 have discovered 66 ancient relics among the wreckage of three ships in the north area of the South China Sea, the Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences recently revealed.
The newly discovered relics include porcelain fragments, redware pottery and bronze coins. The treasures were found on the seabed among three shipwrecks located 2,000 to 3,000 meters below the surface.
This depth marks a new deep sea milestone for China’s underwater archaeology as the previous record for an underwater excavation by Chinese archaeologists was 1,000 meters below the surface.
“This puts us on the same level as other countries that are advanced in the field of underwater archaeology. There are really not that many countries in the world that can carry out such deep sea archaeology,” Cui Yong, head of the team that excavated the famous Song Dynasty (960-1279) Nanhai No.1 shipwreck in the South China Sea, told media.
Unmanned deep submersible technology was a significant advancement introduced to assist in the latest underwater investigation.
The submersible is capable of using sonar to locate objects as small as a grain of rice and can cover an area of around 100 square kilometres a day.
Manned deep dives were also carried out for the underwater identification and extraction of relics after the unmanned submersible located possible relic sites.
After the excavation of the 66 relics, researchers have continued carrying out further investigations using technologies such as image data extraction and three-dimensional laser scanning.
“A complete work flow for deep sea archaeological investigations has been established,” Deng Qijiang, deputy director of the Institute of Underwater Archaeology of State Administration of Cultural Heritage, told media.
As the ancient Maritime Silk Road passed through its waters, the South China Sea holds an abundance of historical treasures beneath its surface.
The Nanhai No.1 was a large merchant ship from the Song Dynasty that remained hidden for more than 800 years under the water in the South China Sea. It was a typical representative of the merchant ships that sailed the seas at the time.
The shipwreck was excavated in 2007 using China’s creative “one-time integrated salvage” solution.
More than 180,000 fragments of porcelain wares along with 181 gold ornaments were found at the site of the ancient shipwreck.
2022-09-06 Global Times Editor：Li Yan
NOTE: Through the development of ‘Socialist’ science, the CPC has steered China on a definite and progressive modernist trajectory that is ‘scientifically’ driven and which permits the Chinese Nation to properly take control (and ‘monitor’) the waters surrounding its shores! This involves locating, protecting and investigating the numerous ancient shipwrecks that are strewn across this part of the ocean floor comprising part of the ‘Maritime Silk Road’ – the consequence of thousands of years of trade, tribute and (in the case of the now famous ‘Treasure Fleets’) China ‘sharing’ her pre-modern culture (advanced for its time) with other people! Surely, it is a fitting a tribute to the efforts of the unknown and thousands of Chinese men, women and children who participated in the labour and craft processes that produced these artefacts, the carpenters and shipwrights who designed and made the boats, the foresters who planted, grew and harvested the sustainable forests and the sailing crews who often gave their lives attempting to transport all this produce to and from other lands! Today, the CPC has granted the Chinese Nation the ability to ‘protect’ these wrecks from the ‘thieving’ hands of the nefarious forces that have stalked the waters off the shores of South China for decades – taking what they want without permission or recompense!