Chinese dating secrets exposed
The vessel had been constructed with wood from Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Arabia in a technique that still survives in the ancient ship-building tradition of Oman.Many of the ceramics onboard were perfectly preserved, neatly packed and protected by the silty floor of the sea.
The objects in this exhibition attest to the exchange of goods and ideas more than one thousand years ago when Asia was dominated by two great powers: China under the Tang dynasty and the Abbasid Caliphate in West Asia.
The ship had likely carried glass, spices, and minerals to China, where they were traded for silk, ceramics, and lead (which may have on-loaded in China as ballast).
India and Southeast Asia contributed goods and crewmen to this network of trade.
The discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo confirmed what some previously had only suspected: overland routes were not the only frequently exploited trade connections between East and West in the ninth century.
Whether the vessel sank because of a storm or other factors as it traversed the heart of the global trading network remains unknown.Each of the ship’s timbers was fastened with stitching—not nails or other iron fastenings, or even wooden dowels.