Archaeologists have recently found a well-preserved ancient warship dated back to some 600 years ago, at a relics site in the ancient Dengzhou Harbor in Penglai, east China's Shandong Province.
This is the first discovery of a large ancient ship in China in over two decades.
The wooden ancient vessel, more than 20 meters long, is believed to be a warship from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), said You Shaoping, director of the Shandong Cultural Heritage Bureau, on Thursday.
The value of the ancient warship is yet to be determined by experts, said You, adding that it is similar to another ancient ship excavated not far away from the site about 20 years ago, but better preserved than that one.
In 1984, a warship of Yuan Dynasty was found in Penglai, and the ancient ship was the largest and best preserved ancient ship in China at that time.
The ancient ship, unearthed in 1984, is 28 meters long, 5.6 meters wide, and 1.2 meters high. The streamline warship was designed for fast navigation, said experts.
During the excavation of the ship some 20 years ago, a second ancient ship was found. But archaeologists buried it up again because half of the ship was covered by a local home.
Local government conducted a desilting project at the ancient harbor site this year. As residents of the site were relocated, archaeologists began to excavate the buried ship. To their surprise, the third, better preserved ship was discovered.
Experts said Chinese navigation in the Yuan and Ming (1368-1644) dynasties was relatively developed. The ancient Dengzhou harbor had been an important military harbor in north China 1,000 years ago.
The discovery of the ancient ships is of great importance to the research of China's history of warships and harbors, said experts.
(Xinhua News Agency August 12, 2005)