ancient ship emerges from the fenli rescue vessel

150-year-old Shipwreck Recovered From Yangtze River

On Monday, a wooden ship dating back to China’s Qing Dynasty was salvaged from the Yangtze River after nearly 10 months of recovery work

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12:15 PM HKT, Wed November 23, 2022 1 mins read

After midnight on November 21, a 150-year-old wooden ship creatively named the Yangtze Estuary Ship No. 2 was recovered off the coast of Hengsha, an island at the mouth of the Yangtze River.

According to Chinese media outlet Guangming Net, the ship was first discovered in 2015. The recovery process officially started in Shanghai in March of this year after more than six years of underwater archeological investigation.

This spring, the project had to be put on hold during the Shanghai lockdown. In June, pre-salvage cleaning work resumed and was completed after a month. During the process, salvage workers lowered 22 giant beams to wrap around the entire shipwreck in preparation for the actual lifting.

The final stage of recovery began the night of November 20, during a period of ideal weather conditions. The lifting process took more than four hours.

china shipwreck, lost ship yangtze river, archeology china

The mast of the Yangtze Estuary Ship No. 2 emerges

The Shanghai Administration of Cultural Heritage first discovered the 38-meter-long ship through sonar scanning technology. Archeological investigations indicated that it was the largest and best-preserved underwater wreck ever found in the country.

china shipwreck, lost ship yangtze river, archeology china

A diagram depicting the underwater archeological excavation process before the recovery of the ship

The vessel was a merchant ship theorized to have been built during the Tongzhi period (1862-1875) of the Qing Dynasty. Archeologists have discovered priceless relics such as Jingdezhen porcelain in some of the ship’s 31 cabins.

Other mementos from the wreck include Yixing clay wares, Vietnamese hookahs, and shipping construction materials.

porcelain wares found on the yangtze estuary ship no 2 so far

The porcelain wares found on the ship

Many believe the recovered vessel is a junk boat (沙船, sha chuan), a flat-bottomed ship historically used for trade due to its large load capacity. These boats were crucial to the growth of Shanghai’s shipping industry.

china shipwreck, lost ship yangtze river, archeology china

A visualization of the Yangtze Estuary No. 2

Yangtze Estuary No. 2 is the first ship to be recovered from Chinese waters in 15 years, since Nanhai No.1 was salvaged from the South China Sea in 2007.

All images via Weibo

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