Two Shipwrecks Found In South China Sea Reveal Clues About Silk Road Trade Routes

Researchers are celebrating a new milestone in China’s deep-sea archaeology development after two significant and ancient shipwrecks were discovered recently in the South China Sea.

China’s State Administration of Cultural Heritage mentioned that this was the first time ancient vessels sailing and returning to the same sea area were discovered in the nation.

Yan Yalin, the director of archaeology associated with the agency, said that the discovery proved a historical fact that Chinese ancestors utilized, developed, and travelled from and to the South China Sea.

State Administration of Cultural Heritage
South China Sea shipwrecks give clues about historic Silk Road trade routes. Source: State Administration of Cultural Heritage

The well-preserved relics are of high scientific, historical, and artistic value. Yan said it may be an exceptional archaeological discovery in the deep sea.

The ships were found nearly a mile deep in the water on the northwest slope of the sea and located only approximately 10 nm apart.

According to researchers, one of the vessels was exporting porcelain and other kinds of imported wood.

An essential judgment of the cultural relics discovered in the water reflects that they are believed to belong to the Zhengde period of the Ming Dynasty, dated between 1506 and 1521. Several piles of cultural relics were presumed to be separated by the ship’s cabin in one of the sunken vessels. About 100,000 items were mainly porcelain and scattered over thousands of square miles.

Numerous logs were found, which were similar in size and neatly stacked, on the other vessel. Some items on the vessel possibly date back to the reign of Emperor Hongzhi (1488–1505).

It was initially considered an ancient shipwreck that loaded items from overseas and set sail to China.

References: FOX Weather, Arkeonews

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