1,000-year-old wreck relics find central Vietnam berth

By Pham Linh   January 22, 2020 | 03:30 am PT
Artifacts up to 1,300 years in age extracted from shipwrecks are on display at the Center for Promoting Value of Quang Ngai Multipurpose Cultural Heritage.

Hundreds of artifacts between 500 to 1,300 years old are being exhibited ahead of Lunar New Year at the heritage center on 99 Le Trung Dinh Street, in Quang Ngai Town of the eponymous central coastal province.

They are among 4,975 antiques excavated by Doan Anh Duong Company from a wrecked ship found off the coast of Binh Chau Commune in 2013. The area is also known by some as "shipwreck cemetery."

The exhibition model, five meters wide and 24 meters long, was designed to resemble a sunken ship.


Many relics carry burn marks, which experts believe indicate the ship sunk during a fire onboard.


30 types of ancient copper coins were found in the sunken ship off Binh Chau, most of which date back to China's Song Dynasty (960-1279).

The oldest were bronze coins from the 7th century Tang Dynasty, at around 1,300 years in age.

Nguyen Dinh Chien, former deputy director of the Vietnam National Museum of History, said these ancient coins are of great value to archaeologists, especially as basis for tracing the origin of the sunken ship.


A group of students from a local life skill center view artifacts on display.

During Lunar New Year, visitors can partake in holiday activities like wrapping square sticky rice cakes (banh chung), calligraphy and folk games.


Most artifacts retrieved were ceramics from the 13th century. They were exquisitely carved with dragon, phoenix, cloud and other patterns. The antiques are displayed to resemble the state of excavation with sea sand flooding the shipwreck.


Remains from a sunken ship. In addition to the ancient wrecked ship Binh Chau, the center also displays many artifacts from eight other wrecked ships from across Vietnam, collected by Doan Anh Duong Company over the past 30 years.


A ceramic plate from the 15th century showing successful scholars returning to their hometowns to pay respects.

"The pattern on the plate highlights the studious tradition of people back then," said Doan Sung, director of Doan Anh Duong company.


An archival photo depicting workers processing retrieved artifacts from the wrecked ship in Binh Chau, Quang Ngai.

The government has retained 33 percent of the recovered antiques, with the remainder going to the excavation company.

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