GUANGZHOU, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Chinese archaeologists have found 143,000 relics from a cargo ship from the Song Dynasty (960-1279) that was salvaged in the South China Sea in 2007, sources here said Wednesday.
The massive excavation operation that has been going on for years is drawing to an end as archaeologists are now clearing the cargoes in the last few cabins at the end of the ship, said Cui Yong, vice director of the Guangdong Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, and head of the ship's archaeological team.
He estimated that the total number of relics might exceed 160,000 pieces.
Porcelain products, gold, silver, copper and iron relics and copper coins are some of the diverse treasures found within the Nanhai (South China Sea) No.1 vessel.
Bamboo and wooden lacquers and preserved remains of plants and animals have also been recovered from the ship.
The remains of the ship body measure 22.1 meters long and 9.35 meters wide. Archaeologists believe it is one of the largest and best-preserved Song Dynasty ocean-going merchant trade ship ever discovered.
Since its salvage, the ship has been moved to the Maritime Silk Road Museum in Yangjiang city of Guangdong Province, where it has been preserved in sea water and sand in its original state, as it had been for hundreds of years on the sea bed.
Upon completion of the excavation of relics on the ship, archaeologists will start excavating the main body of the ship, according to Cui.