Subscribe to Archaeology

500-Year-Old Shipwrecks Found in South China Sea

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

HAINAN PROVINCE, CHINA—The Guardian reports that two shipwrecks dated to the Ming Dynasty have been discovered nearly 5,000 feet underwater and about 12 miles apart in the South China Sea. One vessel had been leaving China, while the other had been returning, indicating that they had been traveling along a trade route. “It helps us study the maritime Silk Road’s reciprocal flow,” said Tang Wei of the Chinese National Center for Archaeology. The first wreck has been dated to the Hongzhi period, from 1488 to 1505. This vessel was carrying pottery and logs cut from persimmon trees. The second wreck, which had been loaded with more than 100,000 porcelain bowls, plates, and jars, has been dated to the Zhengde period, from 1506 to 1521. The research team is making plans to excavate and conserve the shipwrecks, explained team member Song Jianzhong. To read about another wreck in the South China Sea, go to "Pirates of the Marine Silk Road."

Advertisement

Advertisement


Advertisement