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Museum may be built for sunken cargo ship
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08:28, October 16, 2007

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A marine museum is planned for the coastal area of Nan'ao County in Shantou, South China's Guangdong Province, to display relics yet to be salvaged from the sunken Nanhai II, a source with the local culture bureau said.

The ancient Nanhai II, which was discovered in May in the waters off Nan'ao, is believed to be the second largest ancient cargo ship after the Nanhai I, another ship of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) discovered in the sea off Yangjiang.

"We have submitted a proposal to the provincial cultural authority for approval to construct a museum because the Nanhai II is important evidence of the existence of the ancient Maritime Silk Road," Zhang Wu'ai, deputy director of the Shantou culture bureau, told China Daily yesterday.

Zhang said the proposed museum will cover an area of about 15,000 sq m, with an estimated funding of up to 190 million yuan ($24.4 million).

The initial salvage work on the boat has been suspended due to bad weather conditions in the South China Sea, including frequent typhoons in recent months.

Also, further plans to entirely recover the ship has been submitted to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage for approval, according to the Guangzhou salvage bureau under the Ministry of Communications.

So far, some 5,00 ceramics produced during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), have been discovered during initial probes of the ship. Archaeologists estimated there could be more than 10,000 relics on the ship yet to be salvaged.

Zou Wei, a publicity official with the Guangdong provincial cultural department, said yesterday that a final date to entirely recover the ship has "not yet been set".

"After initial exploration, we have strengthened safeguards along the Nan'ao sea areas to protect the Nanhai II in preparation of further salvage work. Also, we have shifted our focus to the Nanhai I in Yangjiang," Zou said.

The Nanhai I, discovered in 1987 and boasting up to 80,000 relics, will be entirely recovered by the end of this year, Zou said.

Source: China Daily

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