Second search of ancient shipwreck set to start soon

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More porcelain artifacts are expected to be recovered from the cabin of the Nanhai No 1 when the second exploration of the ancient shipwreck begins later this month. [More archaeological discoveries]

The State Administration of Cultural Heritage has arranged the next exploration, but a detailed timetable is yet to be decided, said Huang Liusheng, an official with the Guangdong Marine Silk Road Museum.

The shipwreck, which was salvaged in 2007 from the South China Sea near the city of Yangjiang, Guangdong province, is permanently housed in the purpose-built Crystal Palace at the museum.

"Different from the initial excavation, the upcoming exploration will focus on the ship's bow and quarter," Huang told China Daily.

Archaeologists recovered more than 200 precious porcelain artifacts from the middle cabin of the sunken ship during the first exploration, which was completed in September 2009.

Relics recovered from the cabin two years ago are believed to have been made in private kilns in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, and Dehua, Fujian province.

"The initial exploration has offered archaeologists a clear understanding of how relics are distributed in the cabin. It will help them conduct another exploration," Huang said.

After the initial exploration, archaeologists mapped out a three-dimensional diagram of the wreck, which is estimated to be loaded with 60,000 to 80,000 relics, Huang said.

"It will take at least 10 years to finish the whole exploration project."

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