700-year shipwreck’s results revealed

The Saigon Times Daily

The excavation site at Binh Chau Commune, Binh Son District is now open for experts and officials of central provinces to visit the ancient ship which is lying on the seabed but looks like it is lying on land.

For the first time Vietnamese experts have had a chance to look at the ship which is the oldest wreck in Vietnam waters and has a unique structure, which is rarely seen anywhere in the world. The ship is intact with the rudder, 13 compartments with 12 bulkheads. Its structure is rather solid and it was made of rare wood.

The stem of the ship is a black plank of wood, which is untouched after 700 years under the sea. Experts said that the ship was built by craft methods by axes and connected by steel nails. The gaps on the hull were plastered with lime and sugar baits and they announced the wood was mainly from old trees, including pine.

The excavation has been carried out by Doan Anh Duong Co., Ltd. which is expanding the survey area to look for other ancient ships in the surrounding area of the wreck.

The firm has collected several hundreds of kilos of artifacts, mainly ceramics, bronze and stone items dating back to the 13th century, of which many are very precious items. Therefore, the ship itself and its antiques are meaningful for researchers of archaeology and shipping. The 24m-long timber vessel is divided into 12 holds. Much of it, including the rudder and bulkhead are relatively undamaged.

Authorities have decided that all objects found will be stored and displayed at Quang Ngai Provincial Museum.

The archaeological excavation of the shipwreck in Binh Chau is the sixth of its kind in Vietnam and it is an unprecedented phenomenon in archaeological excavations in the water. Authorities hope the results of this excavation will be useful for the study of the Silk Road in the East Sea project, the history of trade and the ancient shipbuilding techniques.