The salvage operation is continuing in the South China Sea, where the sunken ship Nan'ao One has yielded more finds during Sunday's excavation. As CCTV reporter Zhang Nini finds out, there's been an appreciable increase in the quality of this year's artifacts.
Porcelain wares of a better quality and more prominent patterns are being exctracted during Sunday's salvage operation. The items are retrieved from the two cabins at the south end of the sunken vessel.
Cui Yong, Leader of Nan'ao One Archaeological Team, said, "The variety of porcelain remains the same this year, but most are of a finer quality. They are stored deep inside the cabin, so most were not damaged when the ship sank. "
Most of the porcelain can be traced to private kilns in Jingdezhen, the capital of porcelain in ancient China. Some others are from Zhangzhou city, a porcelain making hub in Fujian province.
The patterns are more exquisite, with topics ranging from beautiful ladies, to flowers, and auspicious signs of the Phoenix. These were popular patterns during the reign of emperor Wanli in the Ming Dynasty about five hundred years ago. And most of the items are in good shape when they are brought to surface.
Chen Huaisha, Expert of Beijing Palace Museum, said, "To be filled in later".
It's the only sunken ship China has discovered that dates back to the late Ming Dynasty, about four hundred years ago. Experts believe thorough research into the shipwreck and its load of cultural relics will provide valuable clues to foreign trade and the history of shipbuilding and navigation during the era.
Professor Wu Chunming, History Dept. of Xiamen University, said, "Underwater archaeology goes beyond the retrieval of artefacts. maritime culture is our focus. What items have been loaded on the vessel and how, their location inside the cabins, and how the ancient people lived on the ship, there are many messages we could receive from a sunken ship. The salvage of Nan'ao One is part of a routine, but the protection of the artefacts, the shipwreck, and the whole underwater heritage could go a long way. "
"Sunday's operation marks an important step in China's underwater heritage protection. Experts hope the salvage will not only fill in a few gaps in the history of maritime culture but will also bring enlightenment on the country's underwater archaeology in general. Zhang Nini, CCTV, Nan'ao County"