Crowds turn out to see ancient Chinese treasure cargo
- On 04/12/2009
- In Underwater Archeology
From Cri English
More than 2,000 people turned out to the opening of a new museum Wednesday to see silver, copper and porcelain treasures salvaged from a Chinese sailing ship that sank 800 years ago.
About 200 artifacts and the pool containing the still submerged merchant vessel, the Nanhai No.1, were on display at the Marine Silk Road Museum in Yangjiang City, in the southern province of Guangdong.
Curator Zhang Wanxing said many visitors praised the design of the museum, saying it highlighted the theme of maritime culture, but they were disappointed the ship remained unseen and the number of exhibits was small.
The 30-meter-long vessel, which was raised from the seabed two years ago, had been immersed in a sealed glass container in a huge pool at the museum.
The pool -- 64 meters long, 40 meters wide, 23 meters high and about 12 meters in depth -- was filled with sea water and silt to replicate the water temperature, pressure and other environmental conditions of the vessel's previous resting place.
Archaeologists said after a trial excavation earlier this year that the wooden structure was perfectly preserved.
The museum authority was considering showing the excavation process to visitors in the future, said Zhang.
"We'll mainly focus on equipment adjustment, staff deployment and security measures during the first opening stage from Dec. 2 to 18.
A detailed management plan is expected to be worked out in the following week before the official opening on Dec. 24," said Zhang.