Gulf of Thailand

Ancient shipwrecks found in Gulf

Sukhotai ceramic

From The Nation

The wreckage of two ancient sail ships, built during the Ayutthaya period 400 years ago, have been found at separate locations in the Gulf of Thailand, with a large number of celadon ceramics and other artefacts.

One ship was found north of Koh Tao, 6 nautical miles off the Surat Thani coast in the South. The other was discovered 60 nautical miles off Chanthaburi in the East, said Erbprem Watcharangkoon, a senior Fine Arts Department official.

Both sailing ships were bound for several countries in the region on regular routes used by cargo ships, before they sank to a depth of about 70 metres.

They were built and used during the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767).

Apart from the wreckage, there were about 10,000 celadon items found in both ships, mostly still intact, but some were broken or damaged because of the use of fishing nets by modern trawlers. A number of the items have been recovered for study by the department's archaeologists.

Erbprem said the items were made in the Si Satchanalai area in the Kingdom of Sukhothai (1238-1583) in the area of modernday Sukhothai province, where a large number of historic kilns have been found.

A training session sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is now underway in Chanthaburi to mark the site of one of the wrecks using geographic information system (GIS) technology. There are underwater archaeologists from 11 countries undergoing the training, which will end by June.