Significant Discoveries of the Shipwreck ‘Dandong No.1’ of Qing Dynasty in Liaoning Province
The shipwreck ‘Dandong No.1’ is located in the sea area that is 50 km southwest of the city Dandong in Liaoning province. To cooperate with the infrastructure, the investigation of underwater culture heritage in the marine area was begun in November 2013. In April 2014 the location of the shipwreck ‘Dandong No.1’ was confirmed through geophysical prospecting and submarine research. From August to October 2014, the major investigation was conducted and the exterior contour of the shipwreck had been cleaned partially. For further verification of the shipwreck’s nature and content, the Conservation Centre of Underwater Culture Heritage under the State Administration of Culture Heritage and the Hunan Provincial Institute of Archaeology continued the major investigation project of the shipwreck ‘Dandong No.1’ from August to October in 2015.
Working plantform for underwater archaeology
The archeology team cleaned the shipwreck by extracting the sand, chose the unburned left shipboard with rich remains, arranged two excavation units for elaborated sondage, and, investigated the condition of stratigraphic deposition. By the end of this work, the investigation was finished and the shipwreck was found with the length of more than 60 meters and the width between nine and ten meters. The shell of the shipwreck was made of steel, joint with rivets and matted with wooden deck. The overall ship was seriously damaged and all parts above the dome deck were lost. There were burning marks on the cabin, prow, right shipboard and stern. There are 60 types of artifacts include 150 items were clean out during this survey, which include the ship units, weapons, personal items, and also more than 60 coins of the Qing dynasty. Among them, 1 torpedo fuze is found at the stern, 10 Gatling guns are found at the middle of the ship, and the 152mm-caliber cannon ball at the left side of the ship.
According to the documents of the Sino-Japanese War of 1894-1895, the North Marine Navy Naval Construction, and local oral histories, Dandong No. 1 is suggested to be the Chinese cruiser Zhiyuan. The structure of the ship, rectangular windows, torpedo fuze, 11mm Gatling guns, 152mm-caliber cannon ball, and the cutlery with the logo of Zhiyuan are the direct evidence for the suggestion. The scholars agreed with the suggestion in the conference that was held by the Conservation Centre of Underwater Culture Heritage under the State Administration of Culture Heritage and the Liaoning Provincial Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Relics on 4th of Nov 2015.
Torpedo fuze underwater
The survey project of Dandong No. 1 shipwreck has been carried out for three years from 2013 to 2015. Based on the historical records on the Sino-Japanese War, the archaeological team used the geophysical instruments such as the multi beam and the magnetometer, surveyed under the underwater archaeological practice regulations, and finally discovered and confirmed the North Sea Naval Cruiser Zhiyuan in the Dandong sea area of north part of the Yellow Sea. This is an important underwater archaeological discovery in China, which provides precious archaeological materials for the investigation of the history of the Sino-Japanese War and the world naval history. (Translator: Li Xuelei)