A Chinese archaeological team has embarked on its journey to excavate a shipwreck near Shanhu Island in the Xisha archipelago in the South China Sea, local authorities said on Monday.
The 25-strong team left Qinglan Port, Wenchang City, Hainan Province, on Sunday for its 45-day research mission, according to the provincial cultural heritage administration.
This is the second notable landmark underwater archaeological excavation in the South China Sea following the Huaguang reef number one shipwreck in 2008 in the Xisha Islands, where a vessel loaded with porcelain sank more than 700 years ago.
The team will also carry out an underwater survey on another sunken ship around Jinyin Island in Xisha, said the spokesman.
The sites contain a substantial amount of stone building material and carvings dating back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
The Shanhu Island site, which is 2,000 meters from the island itself, covers about 20,000 square meters, with the water depth ranging from two to seven meters. Another site, which is 2,500 meters from Jinyin Island, covers about 45,000 square meters, at a depth ranging from three to nine meters.
As of last year, China had discovered more than 120 shipwrecks around Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha islands.