Salvage of 800-year-old sunken ship may shed light on three Chinese history puzzles

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The salvage of a 800-year-old wooden ship off south China coast may help ravel three prominent puzzles surrounding the sunken boat of Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), Chinese experts say.

The three puzzles include whether the submerging of the Southern Song Dynasty ship was caused by overloading, where the ill-fated ship departed from, and what was inside the subsistence cabin.

The salvage operation, scheduled to start on Tuesday, is claimed to be first of its kind in the world. The sunken ship will be hoisted out of the seawater in July, according to Wu Jiancheng, who is in charge of the salvage operation.

The sunken ship was found accidentally in 1987 by Guangzhou Salvage Bureau and an underwater salvage company of Britain. It was the first ancient vessel discovered on the "Marine Silk Road" in the South China Sea and was named "Nanhai No.1", meaning South China Sea No.1...

With a length of more than 25 meters, the ship is the largest cargo ship from the Song Dynasty so far discovered...

Archaeologists estimate that there are probably 50,000 to 70,000 relics on the sunken ship.

Experts spent three years making a plan for the salvage, considered to be the first for underwater archaeology both at home and abroad. In accordance with the plan, a huge, double-box steel structure has been envisioned in order to salvage the ship together with its silt.

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