800 Year old Chinese Junk found

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by andrasnm, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Anyone read the book by Gavin Menzies, 1421: The Year China Discovered the World (America)?

    This recent find only backs up what Menzies has concluded, that a Chinese eunuch, Zeng He an admiral of a gigantic fleet of 300 ships with his his own Treasure Ship that was the size of a football field more than likely discovered the Americas some 70 years before Columbus.

    Consider if China prevailed vs. Europe in world history....


    From The Sunday Times
    December 23, 2007
    Salvaged junk opens up secrets of ‘marine silk road’
    Tom Pattinson, Beijing

    AFTER lying submerged off the south coast of China for 800 years, a merchant ship was raised last week that will cast new light on ancient trade links between China and the West.

    The ship was discovered by an Anglo-Chinese team in 1987 off the coast of Yangjiang city near Guangzhou, buried in silt beneath 100ft of water, but it has taken 20 years to be salvaged.

    The 100ft-long wooden junk, named Nanhai 1, dates from the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279). On board are 80,000 items including gold and silver containers, glazed green and blue porcelain plates and more than 6,000 coins, thought to be bound for trade with countries as far away as Europe.

    The raising of the ship was broadcast live on Chinese tele-vision as it was lifted by a steel cage the height of a three-storey building onto a barge. Marine archeologists said the ship and its contents were in exceptionally good condition, having been preserved by the silt.

    The ship will be towed to a new £10m museum in Guangdong province, where it will be placed in a tank dubbed the “crystal palace” with the same water pressure and temperature as the seabed.

    Once in its new home Nanhai will be excavated but the process is expected to take several years. Visitors to the museum, which is expected to open to the public by the end of next year, will be able to watch the excavation from windows in the tank.

    Local fishermen have long known of the wreck, but it was pinpointed during an expedition to find a merchantman that had belonged to the East India Company.

    Cao Chunliang, director of the bureau of culture in Guangdong, said the ship could be a greater cultural find than the terracotta warriors, the 7,000 clay soldiers discovered in 1974 in the 2,200-year-old tomb of Qin Shi Huang-di, some of which are now on display at the British Museum.

    It is hoped that the Nanhai will prove the existence of a marine silk road that linked southern China with Europe as well as Africa and Southeast Asia.

    “The marine silk road, like the ancient silk road, was a bridge linking eastern and western cultures,” said Huang Zongwei, professor at Guangdong’s Sun Yat-sen University. “But evidence for the existence of the route has been rare.” From the Song dynasty to the early Ming dynasty, China had the largest navy in the world, with treasure ships trading with other Southeast Asian countries. There is some evidence to suggest that they travelled as far south as Australia.

    After the death of Yongle, the third Ming emperor, in 1424 all naval expeditions were halted and China went into nearly 500 years of isolationism. Records of the expeditions were destroyed.

    According to Gavin Menzies, author of the book 1421, ships of the Yuan (1271-1368) and early Ming dynasties (1368-1644) had circumnavigated the world, travelling to the west coast of America and to Europe.

    “It’s thought that traders from the early Ming dynasty did make it to the west coast of Africa and possibly Madagascar, but the architectural evidence is quite thin,” said Lars Tharp, a ceramics expert.

    China was spurred into action to preserve the contents of the Nanhai after the discovery by foreign treasure hunters in the mid1980s of a number of ships containing large quantities of Chinese porcelain, gold and silver.

    Their cargoes were sold at auction houses in the West before China was fully aware of their cultural significance. All the objects recovered from the Nanhai will be put on display in the Guangdong museum.

    Up to 6,000 items have been recovered so far, mostly bluish-white porcelain. Divers have also found ornaments and belts of Middle Eastern design, evidence that Arabs or Iranians were among the crew or that it was trading with the Middle East.

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  2. China went into 500 years of isolationism, not exactly the kind of culture that would have promoted the conquering of the Americas. Europe on the other hand was happy to play its part.

    Why would 300 ships be found exploring the Americas? In all events it was discovered earlier by some lone explorers but nothing was done.