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Archeologists are busy at the salvage site of the ancient sunken ship in Shandong's Heze trying to solve a mystery. They want to find out the owner of the ship, where it came from, and what its destination was. As of now, they don't even know how it sank. So, let's follow some of the archeologists and get some clues.
The experts estimate the ancient sunken ship was 1.8 meters high and 4 meters wide. They also say it contained ten cabinets with each cabinet carrying different cargo.
Sun Ming, Assoc. Researcher, said, "The cabinet at the stern was for worshiping gods. A stone memorial tablet was unearthed, with stone sculptures of arhat, bronze incense burner, and bronze cranes. While at the ninth cabinet, some exquisite wine vessels, and tea cups were found, including the three Yuan dynasty blue and white porcelains that have made a splash in archeology circles. These indicate the ninth cabinet was the dining room of the ship."
Meanwhile, the iron boilers, spoons and wooden chopping board unearthed in the eighth cabinet indicate it was a kitchen. And experts conclude from the grain trails found from the third to seventh cabinets that they served as cargo barns.
Sun Ming, Assoc. Researcher, said, "The wine vessels found in the first and second cabinet are obviously higher in level from those found in the ninth cabinet, indicating there were passengers from both higher and lower social stratums."
Because the relics unearthed were all created during the Yuan or before the Yuan dynasty, experts have roughly concluded it was a Yuan dynasty ship.
Xi Longfei, an expert on ancient Chinese ship history, says it is the biggest sunken ship from Yuan dynasty found in the Chinese mainland.
Experts have made an initial judgment that some 600 years ago, the cargo with grain and porcelain were sailing from south to north, with a destination that might be the Yuan dynasty capital, which is modern-day Beijing. But it sank as it sailed past Shandong Heze, where in ancient times there was a lake.
The salvage of the ship and its relics has been underway for two months. Although there are some mysteries yet to be solved, the excavation of the ship itself will be of great value regarding ship building techniques, sailing routes, and the society in the era of its origin.