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Culture ministry permits salvaging ancient shipwreck

Update: July, 09/2018 - 14:00
Experts examine objects taken from the sunken vessel. — Photo baomoi.vn
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has permitted the National Museum of Vietnamese History to co-ordinate with Quảng Ngãi Province’s culture department to salvage a shipwreck in the sea area of the central province’s Bình Sơn District.

The work will cover an area of 800sq.m around the shipwreck.

The salvage process is expected to last from now until September 15. The next five months will be used for classifying and defining the objects gathered. Researcher Nguyễn Văn Đoàn, deputy director of the museum will supervise the task.

The objects will then be preserved at Quảng Ngãi provincial museum, while the national museum will be responsible for sending a report to the culture ministry.

The ship was discovered during a dredging project to construct a port in waters near Quảng Ngãi Province’s Dung Quất mixed-use economic zone last July.

The vessel is about 30m long and 10m wide, containing ceramic items traced back to the 16th century, many of which were produced in China. It is located at a depth of 9m, 6-7m from the shore.

The vessel and its cargo may provide information on an epoch of thriving trade in silk and pottery between Quảng Ngãi and foreign countries, according to Nguyễn Đăng Vũ, former director of the local Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

In the feudal past, Chinese merchant ships often visited the province to wait out storms, do business, and stock up on food, said Đoàn Ngọc Khôi, deputy director of the local general museum.

Quảng Ngãi’s coastal waters are nicknamed ‘the cemetery of ancient ships’ due to the high number of shipwrecks discovered there.

Archaeologists believe that many of these ships may have been set on fire either accidentally by sailors or deliberately by pirates.

Earlier this year, Culture Minister Nguyễn Ngọc Thiện approved a plan to salvage the ship with proposed budget of VNĐ48.4 billion (US$2.1 million) from the State budget. — VNS


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