Pandanan Shipwreck

A pearl farm diver looking for a missing basket containing pearls accidentally discovered this shipwreck at a depth of 40 meters and about 250 meters from Pandanan Island, southern Palawan. After a preliminary survey was done in 1993, the Pandanan shipwreck was excavated from February to May 1995 by the National Museum of the Philippines and Ecofarm Systems, Incorporated, owners of the pearl farm. The excavation recovered 4,722 archaeological materials comprising a vast array of Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese ceramic wares. Other archaeological materials included glass beads, earthenware pots, an earthenware stove, bronze gongs, iron cauldrons, small cannons, and sharpening or grinding stones. The Pandanan shipwreck was dated to the middle 15th century CE based on a Chinese copper coin ascribed to the Yong-Le period (1403–1424) and the Chinese Interregnum-period ceramic pieces. The shipwreck construction revealed the Pandanan wreck to be a possible South China Sea shipbuilding tradition type of vessel that incorporated Southeast Asian and Chinese shipbuilding techniques. The Pandanan shipwreck’s predominantly Vietnamese cargo affirms the commercial relationship between the Philippines and the kingdom of Champa in central Vietnam that stretches back to the 10th century based on Chinese historical texts and also attests to Vietnam’s entry into inter-regional ceramics trade during the 15th century.

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