Researchers have found an 800-year-old 'Made in China' label on a piece of pottery from an ancient sunken ship in the Java Sea, off the coast of Indonesia. The experts who analyzed the artifacts made the stunning discovery among the scores of ceramics and luxury items that were recovered from the Chinese ship.
Indonesian fishermen had first found the shipwreck in the 1990s. Subsequently, more than 7,500 artifacts, which made up half the cargo, were donated to the Field Museum, according to CNN.
The archaeologists, who had been analyzing the treasure trove of cargo since 2014, were finally able to piece together the information regarding the ship. The details also revealed where the ship had come from and when the ship had sunk.
"Initial investigations in the 1990s dated the shipwreck to the mid to late 13th century, but we've found evidence that it's probably a century older than that," Lisa Niziolek, an archaeologist at the Field Museum in the US was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.
Eight hundred years ago, someone put a label on these ceramics that essentially says 'Made in China' – because of the particular place mentioned, we're able to date this shipwreck better.
The discovery also paved the way for the experts to believe that the ceramics with the 'Made in China' inscription may have come from Jianning Fu, a government district in China. After reading the inscription, the researchers believe that the shipwreck may have taken place somewhere around 1162, reports CNN.
"There were probably about a hundred thousand pieces of ceramics onboard. It seems unlikely a merchant would have paid to store those for long prior to shipment – they were probably made not long before the ship sank," said Niziolek. The experts also believe that the shipwreck may have happened during the time of an important trade deal.
The research details were published on Wednesday, May 16, in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.