Into the deep for relics

By Wang Kaihao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-09-16 07:44:26

Into the deep for relics

China's first underwater research vessel, China Archeology No 1, anchors in Qingdao, Shandong province. Wang Kaihao / China Daily

Into the deep for relics
Renovation programme underway at Labrang Monastery 
Into the deep for relics
Ceramics declining in Central China's county
China's first underwater archaeological vessel, China Archeology No 1, made its maiden voyage on Sept 4 in Qingdao, Shandong province. The vessel will explore the country's 18,000-kilometer-long coastline in search of sunken cultural relics and shipwrecks.

The 57.9-meter-long and 10.8-meter-wide boat with a displacement of 980 tons is powered by electricity. It was manufactured in Chongqing by China Shipbuilding Industry Corp at a cost of 60 million yuan ($9.77 million). It is able to cruise over 1,000 nautical miles at any one time and work nonstop for a month.

"Historically, Chinese sea archeology relied on rented fishing boats to carry out underwater research work," Chai Xiaoming, director of the Beijing-based National Center of Underwater Cultural Heritage, said during the boat's inaugural ceremony.

The working conditions on fishing boats were poor, he said, and "the noise from the motor made it difficult to use the sonar detecting system. They were also too fragile in strong winds."

Li Shuicai, chief engineer of the design team behind China Archeology No 1, says the ship is equipped with multiple special devices to better serve aquanauts, detect and salvage wrecks, and repair cultural relics. Underwater archeological robots will be installed in the future.

China Archeology No 1 will still need to cooperate with other larger vessels when undertaking big projects, but it will act as "the flagship in an archeological fleet", says Chai.

"It's not only a ship, but also a comprehensive platform to conduct research on the sea. It can also function as a small museum to better inform the public when we are not out at sea."

Previous Page 1 2 3 4 5 Next Page

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular