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Sunken 13th-century Chinese boat recovered

Dec. 24, 2007 at 2:52 PM

BEIJING, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A Chinese merchant boat, which sank into the South China Sea 800 years ago, has reportedly been recovered in good condition by Chinese archaeologists.

The "Nanhai No. 1" or "South China Sea No. 1," which may have been part of China's Marine Silk trading fleet, was raised last Friday from the sea near China's south Guangdong province, Xinhua reported.

An early examination showed the nearly 100-feet-long boat remained well-protected as it was wrapped in a sealed steel box with plenty of water before it was hoisted, the report said quoting an expert.

The recovered boat will be placed on a huge air bed and sent to a specially built museum.

The boat was discovered in 1987 off the coast near Yangjiang City and was described as one of the oldest and biggest Chinese merchant boats to go down into the sea.

Xinhua said archaeologists have recovered from the boat more than 4,000 containers made of gold, silver and porcelain and about 6,000 copper coins belonging to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) when the vessel was built.

A professor at the Guangdong-based Sun Yat-Sen University said the boat is proof of the existence of the "Marine Silk Road" when ancient Chinese traders took china, silk and textiles and other commodities to foreign countries.

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