In the past, Quang Ngai had a trading port that operated for centuries, so the floor of the sea in the province is known as the ‘cemetery of ancient shipwrecks,’ according to experts.

Dr. Nguyen Tuan Lam, a marine archeologist, stated that shipwrecks and treasures on board, which are unique and rare worldwide, have been discovered in the province in recent years.

In mid-May, border guards inspected a boat owned by a fisherman in the waters off Phuoc Thien Village in Binh Hai Commune and discovered 33 ceramic plates and seven bowls on board.

These pieces were retrieved from an ancient shipwreck 60 meters deep underwater.

Many archeologists have identified them as celadon pottery, which refers to ceramics with a soft white-green glaze originating from Zhangzhou, southern China. They bear marks from the 16th and 17th centuries under the Ming Dynasty.

Dr. Lam, who took part in excavating ancient ships off Binh Chau in 2013 and Dung Quat in 2019, mentioned that apart from legal excavations, fishermen have also discovered and retrieved numerous ancient ceramic pieces from the sea, but they have failed to report them to officials.

He added that the waters off Quang Ngai Province harbor a large number of ancient ships, which is evidence of the prosperity of the old trading port.

Dr. Nguyen Dang Vu, former director of the Quang Ngai Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said that while working with international archaeologists, they presented several explanations for the discovery of several shipwrecks.

These ships were wrecked off the coasts due to strong waves, sinking, and piracy.

Dr. Lam confirmed that during the excavations, they found that many ships had ceramic pieces arranged evenly on board. Additionally, many archeologists observed some badges with information about the receivers.

“I saw some badges similar to those found in an excavation of a shipwreck in South Korea,” Dr. Lam said.

A ship with numerous treasures discovered along the coast in Binh Hai should be surveyed and protected to prevent fishermen from diving into the sea to retrieve them in order to avoid damaging the ancient ship.

In 1471, Emperor Le Thanh Ton visited the place where the ancient ship with these ceramic pieces was found.

The site became a defense area with many cannons placed under Emperor Gia Long and Emperor Minh Mang. Officials had previously retrieved some cannons from the sea off the province.

In 2017, during the construction of a port, Hao Hung Company discovered a shipwreck with various ceramics on the seabed.

The excavation of the ship was carried out in 2019, revealing around 10,000 debris and broken pieces of ceramics. Only a few objects were found unbroken or undamaged.

These objects were from the Wanli era, which means ‘ten thousand calendars.’ They were produced in some provinces in China.

The Quang Ngai Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism plans to hire a company to explore the waters around six kilometers from the coastline for 15 days.

Dr. Doan Ngoc Khoi, deputy director of the Quang Ngai General Museum, stated that the exploration will be conducted by highly-skilled divers and robots.

The exploration and survey will be supervised by experts, Dr. Khoi added.

The results, images, and videos of the exploration will be used to make a decision on whether to proceed with an excavation.

The plan has been submitted to the Quang Ngai administration and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

Many shipwrecks with numerous ceramic pieces on board have been discovered in Binh Dinh Province, Quang Nam Province, and Phu Quoc off the Mekong Delta region’s Kien Giang Province.

These ceramics date back to the 14th and 15th centuries and originated from China, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the shipwreck off the Binh Chau coast in Quang Ngai was determined to be from the 13th century.

The ship is approximately 700 years old.