Monday, November 20, 2006

Java sunken treasure to be sold


BBC NEWS : "Scientists in Indonesia are preparing to auction tens of thousands of artefacts salvaged from a sunken ship off the coast of Java.

The items, which are believed to be more than 1,000 years old, include ceramics, tombstones and swords.

The ancient treasure, which was discovered 18 months ago, is expected to fetch several million US dollars.

About 150,000 pieces are still intact and some of them are expected to go to Indonesia's museums.

Salvaged after 1,000 years at the bottom of the sea, the haul includes bowls from China, Thailand and Vietnam; perfume bottles from Persia; and swords and tablets engraved with Koranic inscriptions.


It is an extraordinary finding because on the ship we can find artefacts that come from five Chinese dynasties
Expert, Siawaori Nissia

They were only discovered when fishermen off the coast of Java brought up nets clogged with shards of ancient ceramics.

According to Horst Liebner, an expert involved in cataloguing the find, the artefacts probably came from onboard an Indonesian trading ship.

'There is a chance of about 70% that the cargo was loaded in China and then traded down the coast of Palembang and then was heading for Java.

'It's a very funny ship. It's very broad, it's very flat on the bottom, it's very sharp in the bow. It must have been very high if you see the amount of cargo which was on there - about four metres high, maybe four-and-a-half,' he said."