Divers find £43million worth of Ming Dynasty pottery on shipwreck

Divers found the ‘biggest ever’ haul of Ming dynasty pottery in the wreckage of a merchant ship from about 1580, worth a total of £43million.

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Fine China: The huge collection of pottery lies in a shipwreck dating back to 1580 (Picture: Caters)

It is thought there could be 700,000 pieces of blue and white Chinese porcelain at a depth of 182m (600ft).

The collection was found by German maritime heritage group Arqueonautas Worldwide and partner RM Discovery.

‘The wreck was located in mid-2009 by fishermen and has become extremely vulnerable to plundering,’ said Nikolaus Graf Sandizell, of Arqueonautas.

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The Ming Dynasty Chinese pottery is worth £43million in total (Picture: Caters)

‘Not only is this a tremendous find in economic terms but this wreck is also of great importance from a historical and cultural point of view.

‘This world-important maritime heritage can only be protected from looting by recovering the cargo and scientifically documenting the shipwreck.’

The ship, from the time of Emperor Wanli, lies about 150km (93 miles) off the coast of Indonesia.

The government there hired Arqueonautas and RMD to explore the site.
The Ming dynasty of emperors ruled China from 1368 to 1644.