French archaeologist discover 12th century shipwreck
Fri, February 24 2012 17:43 | 2096 Views
Medan, N Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Fragments from a 12th century shipwreck have been discovered in Medan's China Town, supporting earlier claims about the discovery of an ancient shipwreck. Medan is a major city in Indonesia that support local and regional economy activities since a long time ago.
"The findings of the shipwreck by a French archaeologist supports the earlier findings," said Ichwan Azhari, Chairman of the Center for the Study of Social and Historical Sciences, State University of Medan here on Friday.
Back in 1989, archeologists first discovered the ancient shipwreck on the edge of Lake Siombak, located not far from the Medan's China Town Marelan site.
Ichwan said that discovery of the ancient ship fragments occurred during excavations of an archaeological site on Wednesday, Feb 22, by a team of archaeologists who had been working since April.
During the excavation, led by French archaeologist Daniel Perret, pieces of an ancient ship were found on the site at a depth of 1.40 meters.
Also, vessel fragments were found in a 3x4 meter box buried in the front yard of the China Town Museum Site.
Other ancient relics were also found in the same box included Chinese ceramics, glass beads and even gold and rust flakes.
"However, we haven't figured out the origin of this ship, because it requires more research," he said.
Carbon dating tests performed by an overseas laboratory should be conducted to determine the age of the ancient ship, according to officials.
The findings also confirm that the city of Medan has a long history as an international city dating to the 12th century.
"Excavations at the China Town site are expected to unveil the mystery of the ancient city, which is very important," he said.
Such findings strengthen the hypothesis about the role of China Town as a commercial port in East Sumatra in the 11th century, as confirmed by Dr. Edwards McKinnon in his doctoral dissertation at Cornell University in the United States.
Edwards performed his research at the China Town site from 1972-1977, where he found such artifacts as ancient statues of Buddha and Chinese ceramics
"The local government needs to take measures to preserve the site, before it completely destroyed by the public," he said.
Research and excavations are funded by the French government through the Institute of French Studies for Asia (EFEO) and have been carried out since April 28 while headed by Dr Daniel Perret.
The study involved 30 researchers and auxiliary personnel who conducted field work and cooperation between the National archaeological Center, Institute for Archaeology Field, Pussis-Unimed and China Town Museum.
Editor: Ade Marboen
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