Into the deep for relics

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

Into the deep for relics
Porcelain items are recovered. Photo provided to 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
"The security situation has not been ideal," Li says, adding that relics have been illegally extracted from shallow areas of the South China Sea along the country's coast.

"Complicated disputes on maritime interests with neighboring countries have also given us pressure. Maritime archeology is more closely connected with overseas countries than other fields. To ensure our national interests, we will gradually promote cross-border cooperation, starting with academic studies and training programs."

China recently completed a three-year cooperative underwater archeology discovery quest with Kenya near the Kenyan city Malindi, working alongside the country's first professional underwater archeologist squad.

Li says the State Administration of Cultural Heritage will be more active in international projects under the framework of UNESCO. After the Silk Road and Grand Canal were listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in June, China formally launched a bid to have the Maritime Silk Road—a historical trade and cultural corridor in the sea connecting the East and West that peaked during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) dynasties—placed on the list.

Many ancient ships with treasures are buried along the corridor. "The enhancement of underwater archeological discovery is one of the keys to having the corridor listed as a World Heritage site," says Xie Xiuzhi, director of the Shandong Provincial Administration of Cultural Heritage.

The official application, which involves seven provincial-level administrative regions, will be submitted to UNESCO in 2016.

Li Xiaojie says China's underwater archeology lacks clear supervision, and "more rigid and timely regulation is a must".

"The rule of law offers the fundamental support to preserving the cultural relics," Li says.

Editor's Picks
Hot words

Most Popular