After over 150 years of being underwater in the mud at the Yangtze River estuary – and following seven years of being subjected to underwater archaeological examination – a Qing Dynasty sand-trading boat finally revealed mysteries on Sunday around midnight.
A wooden boat, the Yangtze River Estuary No. 2 Ancient Vessel, constructed during 1862-1875 when Emperor Tongzhi ruled, has surfaced as it was wrapped and hoisted up by an 8,800-ton arch-shaped box that was supported by 22 giant-arch beams after a hoisting operation lasted three hours.
The vessel will, later on, be carried to the No. 1 dock of the Shanghai Shipyard’s former site in the Yangpu District by the salvage ship named Fen Li, entering a new stage of preservation of archaeological excavation and cultural relics.
It was reportedly buried in sludge that was 5.5 meters in depth, and the water area where the ship reportedly sank is about 8 to 10 meters in depth.
Video Credits: CGTN / YouTube
Based on the latest findings, the ship’s remains are approximately 38.1 meters in length and 9.9 meters in width and boast 31 cabins.
On November 20th, the “Fen li” round waiting for work was photographed on the “Dali” ship.
From November 20th (night) to November 21st (early morning), the 10,000-ton “Dali” as well as the “Fen li” ship, a unique engineering vessel for the overall salvage of ancient vessels independently developed, completed commissioning in Hengsha of the Yangtze River Estuary, wherein the No. 2 old vessel was situated.
The image was captured on November 21st. It reflects the mast of the Yangtze Estuary No. 2 ancient vessel gradually coming out of the water.
The main masts and upper deck of the ship seem to be intact.
The ship is a sand vessel with a flat bottom, which was used widely for water transportation during the Ming and Qing dynasties in Shanghai, per Zhai Yang, the deputy director associated with the Shanghai Cultural Heritage Protection and Research Center.
In 2015, an underwater archaeological examination in the Hengsha area of Chongming Island found a sunken iron vessel with the help of advanced sonar scanning technology.
The warship was dubbed the Yangtze River Estuary’s No. 1 Ancient Vessel. Archaeologists widened the scanning scope, and soon after, a wooden ship was discovered to the north of the warship, named the Yangtze River Estuary No. 2 Ancient Vessel.
Priceless archaeological finds, including porcelain that belonged to the kilns of Jingdezhen, a well-known porcelain capital based in the Jiangxi Province, have been discovered in four cabins.
Many cultural relics like Yixing zisha wares, cans of hookah from Vietnam, ship masts, construction material, wooden buckets, and iron anchors were unearthed from areas close to the ship.
The bottom of a glazed green cup has signs that indicate being made during the rule of Emperor Tongzhi, offering virtual proof of the ship’s history, specialists mentioned.
The Yangtze River Estuary No. 2 Ancient Vessel marks another milestone in Chinese underwater history following the Nanhai No. 1 cargo vessel from the Southern Song Dynasty.
Nanhai No. 1 is the best-preserved and most excellent Song Dynasty ocean-bound merchant trade vessel.
The Yangtze River Estuary No. 2 Ancient Vessel is one of the best-preserved and largest wooden sunken vessels, with the heaviest amount of cultural relics found in the world until now, per Fang Shizhong, director of the organizations — Shanghai Administration of Culture and Tourism and the Shanghai Administration of Cultural Heritage.
It is a priceless cultural legacy with significant scientific, historical, and artistic value.
The finding of the vessel provides essential support for research on the “Maritime Silk Route”. It also serves as a witness to Shanghai’s position as a world shipping and trade centre in modern times and an imperative leg on the “Belt and Road,” Fang mentioned.
References: CGTN, Shine, China Post
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