Treasure from the depths

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MAY 9 -- Chinese archaeologists are attempting to salvage an 800-year-old sunken boat they believe is loaded with priceless ancient artifacts.

The wreckage of Nanhai I, a wooden merchant vessel dating back to the early Southern Song Dynasty, was discovered in the South China Sea in 1987, a news report says. Measuring 82 feet and weighing an estimated 4,800 tons, Nanhai I is the largest cargo ship discovered from that area.

“It is unprecedented in underwater archaeology both at home and abroad,” one of the officials working on the project says in the report. “In order to better protect the precious relics on Nanhai I, and gain essential historic information, we plan to salvage it with the silt that covers it.”

Archaeologists believe there could be up to 70,000 rare antiques stored aboard the sunken vessel, according to the report. The salvage project is estimated to cost about $12.9 million.

Jason Fell