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Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan


More than 10,000 gold and silver items that sank to the bottom of a river in southwest China's Sichuan Province over 300 years ago have been recovered, archaeologists said Monday.

Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Archaeologists retrieved valuable pieces of jewellery and ingots from the riverbed 
[Credit: Chinese Museums Association Exhibition Exchange Platform]
The items included a large amount of gold, silver and bronze coins and jewelry as well as iron weapons such as swords, knifes and spears, said Gao Dalun, director of Sichuan Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute.

The characters carved in the gold and silver utensils are still clear and the embossed patterns on the jewelry show exquisite craftsmanship, archaeologists said.

Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Archaeologists drained the river and looked for items in the muddy riverbed [Credit: Chinese Museums Association 
Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
A stamp with a tiger sculpture as a handle [Credit: Chinese Museums Association 
Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legend has it the treasure belonged to Zhang Xianzhong who rebelled against the Ming Dynasty  
[Credit: Chinese Museums Association Exhibition Exchange Platform]
The treasure site, located in the intersection of Minjiang River and its branch Jinjiang River, is 50 kilometers away south of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.


It is said that in 1646, peasant uprising leader Zhang Xianzhong was defeated in the area by Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) soldiers while attempting to transfer his treasure to the south. About 1,000 boats loaded with money and valuables sank during the skirmish.

Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Many of the items are so well preserved that the inscriptions engraved on them are still legible  
[Credit: Chinese Museums Association Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
The items retrieved are exceptioanlly well preserved [Credit: Chinese Museums Association 
Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Silver books discovered at the site [Credit: Chinese Museums Association
Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Numerous coins were found at the site [Credit: Chinese Museums Association 
Exhibition Exchange Platform]
"The objects have helped identify the area where the battle was fought and are direct evidence of this historical event," said Wang Wei, a Chinese archaeologist.

Sichuan launched the exploration project in January when the dry season arrived. Several water pumps were used to drain water away day and night. Hundreds of meters of the river bed appeared after archaeologists dug five meters down, where they found the relics.

Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Archaeologists retrieved over 10,000 items from the muddy riverbed  [Credit: Chinese Museums Association
 Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Member of excavation team holds gold artifact recovered from site  [Credit: Chinese Museums Association 
Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Excavations started in January, during the dry season. Archaeologists had to drain part of the river 
 [Credit: Chinese Museums Association Exhibition Exchange Platform]
Legendary sunken treasure discovered in Sichuan
Many pieces of gold, silver and brone jewellery were found at the site  [Credit: Chinese Museums Association 
Exhibition Exchange Platform]
"The items are extremely valuable to science, history and art. They are of great significance for research into the political,economic, military and social lives of the Ming Dynasty," said Li Boqian,an archaeologist from Peking University.

Archaeologists said the excavation will last until April and the team expects to unearth more items.

Source: XinhuaNet [April 01, 2017]
TANN

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