GUANGZHOU, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Human bones found in an shipwreck in southern China may be evidence that foreign sailors worked in China 800 years ago.
Several bone fragments were found in the Nanhai No.1, a cargo vessel that sank in the Yangjiang River during the South Song Dynasty (1127-1279), according to Guangdong Cultural Relics Institute.
"These bones are fragmented so it is hard to say that they belonged to one person or a number of people," said Cui Yong, deputy director of the institute.
DNA tests show that they were not remains of an East Asian person, he said.
Judging from the fact that the bones were found on the lower decks of the boat, there may have been foreign sailors working during the Song Dynasty, he said.
At 30.4 meters long and 9.8 meters wide, the vessel was found west of Hailing Island in south China's Guangdong Province. In 2007, the wreck was raised and is now kept at a museum for the Maritime Silk Road.
Although the vessel's itinerary is unknown, large quantities of white porcelain indicate that the ship might have set off from Quanzhou Harbor in Fujian Province. Produced in Dehua, Fujian, white porcelain was mainly made for export.