Santa Cruz shipwreck

The Santa Cruz shipwreck came to the attention of the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) during the second quarter of the year 2000 when fishermen were reportedly raising ceramic objects from a shipwreck in the waters of Santa Cruz municipality in Zambales Province, northwestern Luzon. From July to September 2001, the NMP in collaboration with the Far Eastern Foundation for Nautical Archaeology (FEFNA) conducted systematic underwater archaeological excavations that resulted in the recovery of approximately 15,000 archaeological materials. The collection consists mostly of trade ware and utilitarian ceramics of which more than 8,000 pieces were found remarkably intact in the cargo holds. The ceramics include blue and white porcelains from China, blue and white stoneware from Vietnam, stoneware celadons from China, Thailand, and Burma, stoneware storage jars from Thailand, and earthenware pots and stoves of still undetermined origin. Based on the stylistic and morphological analysis of the ceramics, the Santa Cruz shipwreck and its cargo dates back to the reign of Chinese emperor Hong-zhi (1488–1505) during China’s Ming Dynasty period (1368 – 1644). Non-ceramic objects include small cannons, stone beads, glass bracelets, iron cooking cauldrons, and other unidentified metals. The Santa Cruz shipwreck is a testament to the Philippine participation in Southeast Asia’s regional maritime trade during the late fifteenth century.

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