China raises 800-year-old sunken ship

Dec. 22, 2007 at 3:08 PM

YANGJIANG, China, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Chinese archaeologists raised an 800-year-old merchant ship from the bottom of the South China Sea to be displayed in a specially built museum.

Archaeologists raised the nearly 100-foot-long ship named "Nanahi No. 1," or "South China Sea No. 1," in a giant steel box Saturday, the Chinese news agency Xinhau reported Saturday.

"We haven't seen any silt or water leakage from the box. The boat is still in almost the same environment as it has been over the centuries," said Wu Jiancheng, chief of the archaeological project.

Scientists plan to ferry the vessel to the Crystal Palace, a museum with a glass pool containing the same environmental conditions as the seabed.

The Yangjiang municipal government plans to open the museum to the public by the end of 2008.

Archaeologists discovered the vessel in 1987 and recognize the find as one of the oldest and largest Chinese merchant boats sunk at sea.

Excavation projects uncovered more than 4,000 containers made of gold, silver and porcelain from the ship in addition to roughly 6,000 copper coins from the Song Dynasty, which lasted from 960-1279 A.D.

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