15th Century Thai Pottery Found in Ancient Vietnamese Wrecks

Posted on 06/10/09 No Comments

Southeast Asia’s oceans are full of ancient wrecks, many of which contained beutiful and rare pottery. Technical divers around Thailand, with the folks at the MV Trident in Koh Tao at the forefront, have found and explored many of these wrecks. But in Vietnam, underwater archeology is still in its infancy.

In a post today on the ArcheologyWorld blog, Nguyen Dinh Chien, chief curator of the National Museum of Vietnamese History in Hanoi, looks back at the first three major wreck finds, including one containing a treasure trove of 15th century Thai pottery.

The Hon Dam wreck off Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang Province was recovered in 1991. It turned out to be a significant find with the pottery found illustrated in the 1997 “The Ceramic of South East Asia. Their Dating and Identification” by M. Roxanna Brown, the subject of archeologists Jeremy and Rosemary Harper seminar on porcelain held in Hong Kong in 1978 and, in 1993, the subject of a photo spread and article by Pham Quoc Quan and Nguyen Quoc Hung called “Thai Ceramics at the Wreck in Phu Quoc-Kien Giang” in  Culture and Art Study magazine.

Viet Nam Salvage Corporation (Visal), which was contracted to recover the country’s first major wreck, the Vang Tau in 1990, found the base of the Hon Dam.

The wreck lied at the over 40m depth. Some parts of the wreck were burried under approximate 2m sand. It was measured at about 30m long and 7m wide. The artifacts above the surface of the wreck were curdled in big blocks by oyster.

There were about 16.000 pieces of celadon and brown porcelains recovered in the wreck. The most special ones were the port shaped bowls with segmented open rim of 38cm diameter and weighted 03kg. The

specialists assumed that those porcelains were made by the Sawankhalok’s Kiln (Thailand) in the 15th century. The recovery was participated by the Vietnamese divers and two key archaeologists Michael Flecker (Australian) and Warren Blake (New Zealand).

As Nguyen notes in his piece, Vietnam is a country of more than 3,000 kilometers of shoreline and a country, from earliest times, built around maritime trade.

Underwater archaeological excavations in Vietnam through above five projects could be considered as the potential initial steps. Even though this work is new with our archaeological activities, but we have a lot of chances to share our underwater archaeological excavation experience with other countries. The recent excavations have proved the successful co-operation between us with organizations and specialists in the world for Vietnamese underwater archaeology.

Content Protected Using Blog Protector By: PcDrome.