Ningbo (Chine): exploring Xiaobai Jiao-1, an ancient merchant wooden vessel

Xinhua News

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Over to east China's waters, where archaeologists are exploring Xiaobai Jiao-1, an ancient merchant wooden vessel which sank about 500 years ago in the Qing Dynasty off the coast of Zhejiang Province.

The ship sank in Ningbo city's Yushan waters off Xiang Shan County. Ningbo was a major hub for sea trade in ancient China. The exploration is in two phases. This year the focus will mostly be on recovering the antique pieces on board the ship. And in 2013 salvage work will continue on the ship itself.


Archaeologists have recovered nearly 500 antique objects, including porcelain and coins. It also marks a step forward in underwater technology. The explorations will use surface and underwater monitors and short-base line locators - a first for China.

The ship dates from the Dao Guang period in the Xing Dynasty. It was discovered in 2008 off the coast near the city of Ningbo, in Zhejiang, resting at 18 to 22 meters below water level.



Shadowy blue porcelain items were among the rare antiques discovered during initial explorations. Archaeologists have also recovered wooden and stone vases and pots. The Underwater Archaeology Center of China was founded in 1987. The Chinese underwater technology and equipment have already reached international standards, surpassing that of South Korea and Japan.