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Construction workers in China find wreck of Mongol merchant ship


Construction workers in Hebei, northern China, have found what local authorities say is a sunken merchant ship from the Yuan dynasty, Live Science reports.

Construction workers in China find wreck of Mongol merchant ship
The hull of the ship was cracked, suggesting it was hit and took on water, leading to it being wrecked
some 700 years ago [Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics]
Workers building bridge supports found the remnants of the wooden ship three to four metres below the riverbed of the Fuyang river, and was covered by layers of sediment.

Construction workers in China find wreck of Mongol merchant ship
The 21 metre long wooden shipwreck has 12 cabins, separated by wooden bulkheads, which included cargo compartments, 
crew quarters and a shrine archaeologists found. The control room also served as the ship's kitchen 
[Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics]
The 21 metre ship, which the archaeologists believe was used for river journeys, had a hull sectioned into 12 cabins by 12 bulkheads.

Construction workers in China find wreck of Mongol merchant ship
An iron anchor found near the ship [Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics]
The vessel also held a Buddhist shrine containing an incense burner, and stone carvings of deities as well as a captain’s cabin. The ship’s bridge doubled as a kitchen where iron pots and an iron stove were recovered.

Construction workers in China find wreck of Mongol merchant ship
Jar decorated with a dragon and phoenix design found inside the wreck 
[Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics]
More than 100 artefacts including iron, bronze and gold, as well as other jade, porcelain and clay items were found inside the wreck.

Construction workers in China find wreck of Mongol merchant ship
Figurine showing a tiger sitting beside an "arhat," an individual who in Buddhist belief 
has attained enlightenment [Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics]
The discovery has offered a fascinating glimpse into artwork from the period, from between 1271 and 1368, when the Yuan Dynasty ruled from the Mongol palace in Xanadu.

Construction workers in China find wreck of Mongol merchant ship
Gold earrings (?) with turquoise found in the wreck [Credit: Chinese Cultural Relics]
The shipwreck was excavated between October 2010 and January 2011 by archaeologists from the Shandong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology and the Heze Municipal Commission for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments.

A journal article with their results was published in 2016, in Chinese, in the journal Wenwu. Recently, this article was translated into English and published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.

Source: LiveScience [October 25, 2017]
TANN

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