Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum

Located in Hailing Island of Yangjiang city, Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum opened to public on December 24, 2009. A major focus of it is the 'Nanhai 1' in English 'South Sea No. 1', an 800-year-old merchantman that traded along the Marine Silk Route during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279). The museum covers a total area of 19,409 square meters, and has two functional areas. An exhibition area is open to the public, while the second area is dedicated to study and research. The museum is dedicated to China's History of Ocean Civilization and Maritime Trade by illustrating the development and fruits of China's underwater archeology through literature and pictures as well as cultural relics.

Structurally, the museum comprises five halls in the form of interlinking elliptical rings, one large and four smaller ones. The largest of these, the third palace, is where "the South Sea No.1" is housed. The principal part of the third palace is a giant twelve meter deep aquarium. As the water quality, temperature and environment replicates the benthic environment where the merchantman sank, the hall has acquired the name of 'Crystal Palace'. The public can see the sunken steel-lined well in the Crystal Palace. The marine archeologists say that their trial excavation showed that the ship's wooden structure remained intact as the sea water had preserved it from decay. Two sightseeing lounges, 60 meters long and 40 meters wide, like the sightseeing tunnels of ocean parks, are available for visitors. Moreover, the museum will have an underwater archeology platform, from which spectators can watch the original landform, the sunken boat and the live underwater work of those archeologists.

This is the first large scale exhibition of the excavations since 'South Sea No.1' was recovered. The excavation of 'South Sea No.1' is also featured in the sixth palace, which resembles the inner space formed by the framework of the keel and rib timbers used in ancient shipbuilding. Standing within this structure, one will feel oneself in the heart of the ancient ship. The dominant cultural relics of 'South China Sea No.1' are ceramics, a collection of wares from famous kilns such as Jingdezhen Kiln of Jiangxi, Dehua Kiln of Fujian, as well as Longquan Kiln of Zhejiang. The major items from the excavations are intact, having been cleaned of the natural deposits from the sea. Other valuable items are preserved in their original benthic environment. A small quantity of gold and silverware objects together with copper coins and handicrafts were also recovered. In addition exotic items such as a cockscomb inkstone were found. The inkstone fashioned like a cockscomb looks like a goblet when reversed. This was a popular decorative feature in Arabian countries of the period. It is estimated that in total, the number of articles found is in excess of ten thousand.

Experts say that so far they have just got a general understanding of the 'South China Sea No.1' and that parts of their excavations are beyond all expectations. They are waiting for more big surprises in future work. However, the protection and excavation methods of the 'South Sea No.1' site are unprecedented, and a perfect plan must be put forward before further work is undertaken and there is still one year to go.

Admission Fee: CNY 80
Opening Hours:

9:00 to 17:30 (Mar. to Dec.); 9:30 to 17:00 (Dec. to the next Feb.)
Stop selling ticket half a hour before the time of closure.

How to Get There: Take bus from Yangjiang Coach Station to Zhapo. Then take a taxi to the museum on the Silver Beach.

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