Into the deep for relics

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

Into the deep for relics

An archeologist cleans items of porcelain from Nan'ao One. [Photo/Xinhua]

Into the deep for relics
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Into the deep for relics
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According to Chai, only a few other countries, such as France, South Korea and Greece, have professional underwater archeological vessels.

The ship's first assignment is being carried out near the port of Dandong in Liaoning province. Chai refused to reveal the details of the mission.

He says around 200 cultural heritage sites have been discovered along China's coasts, and his team plans to draw a map pinpointing each of the sites.

The National Center of Underwater Cultural Heritage became affiliated to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage in August to better coordinate and manage China's underwater archeological exploration.

The new center will act as a liaison between multiple departments, including the State Oceanic Administration and public safety authorities, to halt crimes such as the smuggling of cultural relics.

"We will not be able to achieve much without having a specific team focused on underwater work," says Li Xiaojie, director of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. "The exploration of ocean resources means more than just the development of a maritime economy. It also serves a wider range of public interests."

Qingdao is the first base of the center, and its headquarters are in Beijing. Bases will also be built in other regions, including Zhejiang province's Ningbo, Hubei's provincial capital Wuhan and the Xisha Islands.

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