|From the depths: Several bowls that were found in an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Binh Son District's Chau Thuan Bien Commune in Quang Ngai Province. It's the second ancient shipwreck to be found in the area. — File Photo
QUANG NGAI (VNS)— A centuries-old ship has been discovered lying in the coastal waters off Binh Son District's Chau Thuan Bien Commune in Quang Ngai Province, 150m northwest of the 700-year-old sunken vessel that was found in June, director of the provincial department of Culture, Sport and Tourism Nguyen Dang Vu has said.
The sunken ship was discovered at 200m off the coast near the commune by local fishermen in the middle of the night on Thursday, said Vu.
However, some of the antiquities were illegally removed from the ship, with the thieves leaving a trail of ceramic and terracotta fragments scattered along the coast.
"Border guards and security forces were sent to protect the area, however it is alleged that a number of local people dug up the precious objects during the middle of the night, but we will soon ask them to return what they took," said Vu.
Director of the provincial museum Phan Dinh Do said that the province's border guards only managed to find small bits of ceramic and terracotta dishes and bowls.
"We are guessing that the ceramic objects were from the 16th or 17th century. However, we need a more detailed assessment from archaeologists and scientists," said Do.
He said the area was the final resting berth for many sunken ships from previous centuries.
The provincial Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism has also asked for permission from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for more excavations to be carried out in the area.
In June, archaeologists excavated 268 buckets of artefacts, of which 91 included porcelain dishes, jars, bowls, pots and coins from a 700-year-old vessel, which may date back to the 14th century.
Doan Sung and his company Doan Anh Duong won the bidding rights to raise the wreck and will start excavating the second ship next week.
The excavation of cargo ships that have sunk in the province's inshore waters over the centuries provides a veritable treasure trove of antiquities and clues to historic trade routes, especially the Silk Road. — VNS