40th Anniversary of Shinan Shipwreck Excavation – Documentary Special The Great Discovery This program was funded by the Broadcasting & Communications Development Fund overseen by the Ministry of Science, ict and Future Planning



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40th Anniversary of Shinan Shipwreck Excavation – Documentary Special
The Great Discovery
This program was funded by the Broadcasting & Communications Development Fund overseen by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
Caught in the stormy weather, the ship was

tossed around like a leaf twisting in the wind.
There were porcelain pieces in the cargo bay.
But there was little the crew could do.
Please have mercy on me, Buddha.
The ocean swallowed up everything.
Sinking into the dark depths of the sea
the ship finally rested on the seafloor.
It would be a long period of darkness from then on.
And 700 years would pass.
Executive Producer / Lee Soon-yong
Co-Producers / Kim Soon-gyu, Kim Yoon-sang
Camera / Oh Hyun-tae, Zhang Ming Quan
Writer / Yoon Young-soo
Director / Kim Yoon-sang
The ocean holds treasures from

ancient civilizations.


Traces of a shipwreck along a

historically busy sea route.


Underwater treasures.
The Shinan shipwreck excavation began in 1976.
An abundant amount of artifacts were recovered.
The ancient relics provided many

insights into the past.


Like a time capsule.
Episode 2 / Underwater Time Capsule, Salvaging a Civilization
COEX / Gangnam, Seoul
Korea’s underwater salvage capabilities

are world-class.


In June 2016,
a special event was held in relation

to underwater salvaging.


The Cultural Heritage Administration

sponsored the event in which


visitors could view underwater salvage equipment.
The general public were even allowed to

touch the equipment and it was a big draw.


There was one submersible machine

that attracted a lot of attention.


It’s an underwater rover called Crabster.
Crabster / Korean-developed sea rover
Modeled after crabs and lobsters, the Crabster
has six robotic legs.
With these robotic legs

the Crabster can walk on the uneven seafloor


with excellent maneuverability.
Jung Yong-hwa / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage
Currently, underwater exploration
of known shipwrecks in Korea rely on divers.
They dive to depths of 30 to 40 meters

to scavenge through the wreckage.
But the ocean current is very

strong in the West Sea and South Sea
and visibility is also very poor.
So a diver would be taking a big risk
when diving in such areas under these conditions.
With the Crabster, you can deploy it

underwater to study wreckage.
It is capable of going down very deep.
It can also navigate waters

that have strong sea currents and low visibility
and investigate shipwrecks.
It can be deployed in a variety of conditions.
The Crabster was developed

with domestic technology and know-how.


Crabster is a sea drone.
With a long range, the Crabster can be

operated remotely without a problem.


And the Crabster is designed to handle the challenging

conditions of the sea around South Korea.


It is the world’s most advanced sea drone.
Shim Hyung-won, Senior researcher / Korea Research Institute of Ships & Ocean Engineering
It’s the first underwater walking drone of its

kind to ever be made.
Most other kinds of underwater robots
use propellers as propulsion.
Unlike those contraptions, the Crabster uses robotic

legs to crawl on the seafloor. It’s the first of its kind.
Not only is it the only domestic robot

to have such features but it’s never been
seen anywhere else in the world as well.
So it’s the world’s first underwater

drone of its kind.
Nurian / Asia’s largest excavation vessel
Korea also possesses a dedicated

excavation vessel.


The Nurian that was launch in 2012 is a 290-ton ship
and Asia’s largest excavation vessel.
With the addition of the underwater drone, Crabster,
the Nurian and Crabster can
safely salvage submerged artifacts

from shipwrecks.


Choi Pyeong-ho, 77 / Reported salvaged items from Shinan shipwreck
Korea currently has the top

capabilities in Asia in salvaging shipwrecks.
Recently, China and Japan have

been trying to catch up
to our capabilities.
Europeans were the

leaders in early underwater archaeology.
But now we’ve reached their level of expertise.
Our underwater excavation abilities

has been greatly upgraded.
We’re no slouch in this field.
Jeungdo-myeon, Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do / 1975
South Korea has emerged as

one of the best in underwater excavations.


It all began 40 years ago
when a discovery was made off

the coast of Shinan-gun in Jeollanam-do.


어느 어부가 고기잡이를 하던 그 때,
A fisherman found a celadon vase

in his net that was 700 years old.
This accidental discovery
shed light on a bigger prize.
At the time, the fisherman did not know

the implications of his find.
What he had in his hands...
It would take some time
for people to understand the origins

of this vase with an inlaid peony design.
Jeungdo-myeon, Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do
This is the house of the fisherman who

found a precious vase in his fishing nets near Jeungdo.


It has hardly changed.
The man stored the vase in a storage room

and neglected it.


It wasn’t until the man’s brother came

and saw the vase and its value.


Choi Pyeong-ho, 77 / Reported salvaged items from Shinan shipwreck
My brother lived in this house all his life

and also died here.
He kept the vase he found in that room.
All four of us brothers

were drinking here one day.
And he brought out the vase

to show it to us.
In the summer of 1975.
the fisherman and his brothers

were having a drink at his place


after paying their respects to

their late dad’s grave.


Choi Hyung-geun (42 years old in 1975)
You all did a swell job

in tending dad’s grave.
You did a good job, brother.
Good job, brother.
Choi Pyeong-ho (37 years old in 1975)
You did most of the work.
As they drank for a while,
Choi Hyung-geun then brought up

a surprising subject.
I’ve got a very rare vase.

Would you like to see it?
What does it look like?
Choi Hyung-geun went into his

storage room and fetched


a milky green porcelain vase.
This is very precious.
The men looked intently at the celadon vase.
One of them took a long gaze at it.
He was one of the brothers.
So I took the vase with me to
Mokpo on the following day.
I waited for about six months
and then reported the discovery

to the authorities in the winter of 1975.
Mr. Choi Pyeong-ho was

an elementary schoolteacher


and instantly saw that the vase was special.
He took the vase to Mokpo City Hall.
Good morning.
How can I help you?
He then showed it to a city official.
But he was given an unexpected response.
Don’t lie! How could you have found

a Goryeo celadon in the middle of the ocean?
But this vase is special.
Do you know the penalty for making

a fraudulent claim for a reward?
I’m not lying to you!
I’m really busy now.

Let me make a phone call then.
Hello? Is this the provincial office?
I’m calling from Mokpo City Hall.
I have a man here who has brought a

Goryeo celadon that he fished out of the ocean.
How should I handle this case?
Alright.
So where did you exactly find it?
In the waters near Shinan.
He said he found it in Shinan.
Alright. Yes, yes. Thank you, Sir.
Sir, this is not our jurisdiction.
Report it to the Shinan county office.
You’re telling me I have to

take this all the way to Shinan county?
If you wish to get a reward for it,

that’s where you’ll have to go.
Have a good day.
Because the area where the vase was discovered
was not under Mokpo’s jurisdiction,

Mr. Choi was turned away.


This was a disappointment to Mr. Choi.
But he did not give up.
Determined to declare the vase to

the authorities, he went to Shinan county office.


However,
Choi Pyeong-ho, 77 / Reported salvaged items from Shinan shipwreck
When I got to Shinan County Office

and told them about the vase I brought,
they pleaded with me to

not bring such things to their attention.
And I asked them why.
They related to me a story about

how a farmer discovered
an ancient stone axe while tilling his farm

in Anjwa-myeon, Shinan.
To process that axe discovery,
the staff had to compile 200 pages

of documentation.
The reward for declaring that stone axe

was only 50 cents.
That does not even cover the bus fare

for one trip to the county office.
He was turned away again.
Getting nowhere with the vase,

he decided to seek help from a university museum.


An expert appraised the vase
and said it was a Song Dynasty or

Yuan Dynasty porcelain piece.


With this signed proof of appraisal,
he visited Shinan County office again

to declare the vase a second time.


Choi Pyeong-ho, 77 / Reported salvaged items from Shinan shipwreck
On my second visit, I saw

four reporters there by pure coincidence.
I talked to the reporters and

told them I was here a second time
to declare a vase and had also gotten an

expert opinion from Chonnam National University.
I said the expert determined

it was a Song dynasty or Yuan Dynasty vase.
And they ran a front-page article

about my story the next day.
$100,000 Yuan Dynasty celadon found in a fisherman’s net / Dong-A Ilbo (February 24, 1976)
I waited for the Shinan county office to

process the vase but they claimed it was a fake.
They said that no Goryeo celadon

could ever be found in the ocean.
Their experts said it was fake.
With a mistaken appraisal of

being a fake celadon,
the public lost interest in this remarkable find.
But a breakthrough occurred

due to a separate event.
Insa-dong, Seoul
Around that time, a man
went to Insa-dong, Seoul carrying a vase.
Upon entering an antique shop,

the man showed off his vase.


And he claimed that he

fished it off the coast of Jeungdo.


He was intent on selling the

vase at a high price in Insa-dong.


But price negotiations did not go well.
Now look here.

Tell me more about this vase.
Forget it.
You’re offering me $1,500

so why can’t you give all of that money to me?
Why are you asking me to pay

a $500 deposit first? Why would I do that?
I already explained that to you.
If the vase turns out to be fake, that

money will be used to compensate the buyer.
What if you get charged for looting?
I didn’t loot a grave.

I found it in the ocean.
In the court of law that doesn’t matter.

You’ll still be found guilty.
That can get you arrested.
I’m not selling it in that case.
Wait, wait!

Let’s talk some more.
Are you looking down on me

because I’m a country boy from Jeolla-do?
No, this is how we deal in antiques.
If you don’t give me $1,500.

I’m not going to sell it to you.
The argument continued.
The young man and the antique seller

were shouting at each other.


A crowd gathered to watch the fight.
But one person in the crowd

was no ordinary spectator.


He was a government intelligence agent.
Choi Pyeong-ho, 77 / Reported salvaged items from Shinan shipwreck
So these two people were

fighting in the street.
And a crowd started

gathering around them.
Korea was under a brutal military dictatorship

back then and people were monitored.
So this intelligence agent was passing by.
And he noticed the crowd.

He got closer to check what was going on.
He figured out what they’re fighting about.
Then he told the young man to follow him with

his vase. He took him to the Culture Heritage Bureau.
Subsequently, the Culture Heritage bureau

inspected the vase


and determined that all ceramic ware

from Shinan waters were authentic.


The news quickly spread.
Hello?
Mr. Choi was still teaching at the time.
And he began getting calls from strangers.
You want to excavate it together?
How can we do that

without a salvage permit?
I’m telling you that the

county office hasn’t given permission yet.
Yes.
You want me to loot the shipwreck?
I have no intentions of doing that.
Stop calling me at my school.
I’m hanging up on you.
He would get multiple calls every day from

strangers who wanted to illegally dig up vases with him.


The reaction towards the vase

suddenly reversed.
At first, the vase was said to be a fake

but now it was highly sought after.
Jeungdo-myeon, Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do
The waters off the coast of Shinan

became crowded with boats.


Looters from around the

country came to the area.


Some of them bought local fisherman

boats to excavate celadon vases.


To escape detection by authorities,

they worked at night.


The scale of the illegal excavation

started to expand.


Professional scuba divers were enlisted, too.
Many artifacts were looted or

damaged by the grave robbers.


And money changed hands as antique collectors

bought the illegally excavated artifacts.


There were rumors spreading that a lot of

money could be made by looting the shipwreck.


Choi Pyeong-ho, 77 / Reported salvaged items from Shinan shipwreck
You had these grave robbers diving

around the wreck and scavenging the seafloor.
They hauled in a lot of ceramic vases.
Porcelain collectors flocked to the

area to buy these vases.
There were so many collectors that
you couldn’t book an inn near Mokpo docks.
Mokpo docks
In Mokpo, which was near Shinan

and the shipwreck site, an incident occurred.


What? Is that true?
Why would I lie?
There are treasures under the sea.

It’s a jackpot.
You know Captain Park?
They say he bought a house

from the loot.
He bought a house by selling

some porcelain vases?
You’ve gotta be kidding.
We’re not talking about ordinary

porcelain. These are national treasures.
Rich antique collectors from Seoul are

fighting to buy them first.
Really?
How about we dig up a few, too?
I’ll supply the boat.
No, I would never do it.
If you get caught looting,

you’ll go to jail.
That won’t happen.
Don’t even think about it.
A detective in Mokpo was

tipped off about the looters


and started an investigation.
As he learned more facts,
he became certain that

illegal looting was occurring.


Hey, I hear that people are selling

old porcelain in Mokpo these days.
Do you know anything about it?
Why are you asking?
Well, I’m interested in buying a few.
That’s illegal. You could go to jail.
Is anyone selling it though?
I heard rumors that grave robbers

are digging up vases in Shinan.
But I don’t know for sure.
Oh, I see.
During the investigation in Mokpo,
a random inspection turned up critical evidence.
A gang of grave robbers were apprehended.
When a few men with a large bag

were loitering around Mokpo Station


a police conducted a random inspection.
The men with the bag refused

to hand it over.


After several attempts, the bag was taken.
It contained looted artifacts.
Looted Song Dynasty celadon caught being sold / The Kyunghyang Shinmun (Oct 12, 1976)
The artifacts were appraised

as cultural treasures,


and there was a wave of media attention.
The locals living in Jeungdo came under
investigation for collaborating with the grave robbers.
Kim Byung-geun, Researcher / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage
After the local fisherman
declared artifacts they found to the authorities,
many scuba divers and locals began

to loot the wreckage site to strike it rich.
So there was illicit trade

for these looted porcelain pieces.
Then the authorities became

aware of these activities.
So a lot of people came under

police investigation.
Grave robbery became a big social issue.
And the press ran many reports about it.
Professional grave robbers were arrested.
Locals on Jeungdo were harassed by police.
And the press blamed the government

for doing nothing.


The Shinan shipwreck was at a new junction.
Finally, the government launched

an official excavation.


It was good news that

an official excavation would take place.
Now the precious cargo of the Shinan
would see the light of day again.
Shinan excavation, 1976
In October 1976, the excavation of

the Shinan shipwreck


started with a ceremony.
The Korean Navy’s SSU unit was deployed.
Because there were no divers with

expertise in salvaging underwater wreckages,


the Navy was the only available option.
Without the Navy’s assistance,

the excavation would have been difficult.
Mainly because you needed
expert divers to handle this kind of work.
Lee Myung-hee, Director, Giho Cultural Heritage Research Center / Researcher involved in excavation
And the Korean Navy’s SSU unit

were trained to repair naval ships
instead of conducting military operations.
So they were the ones who were called

when a ship broke down or sank.
They were also trained in salvage operations.
Navy divers started salvaging the shipwreck at last.
Two Navy ships were deployed and
accompanied with many smaller boats.
About 60 divers worked on the shipwreck.
They were all highly trained.
But the salvage was fraught with challenges.
Kim Do-hyun, Director, ICOMOS-Korea / Fmr. Navy Officer in charge of excavation
Visibility was very low in those waters.
When you dive, you glide down like this.
And then it becomes dark

once you go deep.
We had a team of divers

going down all at once.
We had to work quickly

when the tide was low.
So we would send down two

to four teams at a time.
And they would encounter

each other while going up and down.
And they’d be surprised when someone’s
flipper would brush by them.
Strong sea currents and
low visibility made the salvage work difficult.
But the Navy divers also faced another

pressing problem.


They were having trouble finding

the shipwreck itself.


So in a twist of irony, they had

to enlist the help of the grave robbers.


If we give you a boat,

can you find the shipwreck location?
Yes, Sir.
How can you find it in the water?
We can tell when we’re on top of the location.
The grave robbers cooperated with the authorities.
They claimed they could find the shipwreck

location without any equipment.


They proved to be correct.
The grave robbers were able to

lead the Navy divers to the exact location.


Kim Byung-geun, Researcher / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage
Those men knew that area very well.
All they relied on was measuring
the angle and distance of key

geographical markers to find the location.
That is how they told the Navy divers

where to dive.
Today, we have GPS and sonar
that can precisely find objects underwater.
But back then, that technology wasn’t available.
By sight without using GPS, which

was inaccurate in the early days,
the grave robbers were able
to tell Navy divers the precise location.
Once the shipwreck’s location was pinpointed,

the salvage work proceeded swiftly.


The first artifacts were hauled up.
A total of 112 artifacts that included
52 celadon pieces were recovered.
National Museum of Korea / Yongsan, Seoul
For the next eight years until 1984,

excavation took place with 11 major dives.


Most of the artifacts on the Shinan

were ceramics.


There were seven Goryeo celadon
among the 20,000 fully-intact ceramics recovered.
This excavation gave Korea the largest
collection of Song dynasty and Yuan dynasty

porcelain ware in the world.


But this was not the end.
The Shinan that transported the cargo
became the center of heated debates.
Amidst the excavation of the Shinan
a controversial theory was carried in the papers.
Prof. Park Sang-jin (41 years old in 1981)
Shinan treasure ship is Japanese vessel / The Kyunghyang Shinmun (Feb 14, 1981)
A Korean professor asserted that

the Shinan was a Japanese vessel.


After Prof. Park Sang-jin’s controversial

theory was picked up by the press,


he was visited by two men.
They were intelligence agents.
He was arrested without being charged.
Most people were told that the

Shinan was a Chinese ship


so a counterclaim that it was a Japanese vessel
had angered the government.
The agents interrogated him relentlessly.
But Prof. Park did not back down

from his theory.


Mr. Park, why are you making an

assertion that the Shinan is a Japanese ship?
I simply wrote a paper that the

material of the Shinan
is made from a cedar tree that

only grows in Japan.
That’s the same thing!
I’m only an academic researcher
who publishes findings from

my research on wood.
But this controversy highlighted the importance
of wood composition in the realm

of underwater archaeology.


Under the military dictatorship in those

times, you could lose tenure.
Park Sang-jin, Honorary Prof. Kyungpook National University / Lecturer at Chonnam National University during salvage
For a week, I was very

worried about my career.
I didn’t have access to

research material from China.
After I did more research,
I discovered that it wasn’t Japanese cedar wood.
It came from Chinese cedar that

grew in southern China.
That made us aware that

cedar also grew in China.
This revealed to us that the Shinan

was built in the southern region of China
based on the wood samples.
Quanzhou (泉州), Zhejiang province, China
The Shinan was built in a Chinese shipyard.
Quanzhou Maritime Museum is in

Quanzhou, Zhejiang Province.


Quanzhou Maritime Museum
An ancient boat is

exhibited on the museum grounds.


It is the Quanzhou ship.
Model restoration of Quanzhou ship
Quanzhou ship / Discovered in Houzhou Harbor, Quanzhou Bay in 1974
Quanzhou ship was excavated two years
before the Shinan in 1974.
The shipwreck was accidently discovered in the shallow
waters of Quanzhou’s Houzhou Harbor.
Because it rested in shallow waters,

most of the ship was intact.


The ship is from the Song dynasty.
Quanzhou / Kaiyuan Monastery (開元寺)
It has a special hull design.
The entire bottom of the hull has a cheomjeo structure
with watertight compartments.
Shinan
The Shinan has the same hull design.
The separate compartments in the hull
prevented the boat from sinking

even if the hull is breached.


Wangling, Restoration staff / Quanzhou Maritime Museum
Both ships share the same

traditional junk boat design.
A traditional junk has a high deck.
While the hull has a cheomjeo structure.
In addition, a Chinese junk

has watertight compartments.
These characteristics are found in

the Quanzhou ship.
And the Shinan merchant ship was

built with the same shipbuilding technique.
Nanhai (南海) One salvage, 2007
After the Quanzhou ship was salvaged,
China proceeded with more ambitious

state-funded underwater excavations.


China salvaged Nanhai One, an ancient ship.
Takashima, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan
The Shinan’s final destination was Japan.
Takashima Historical Folk Museum
What is the level of Japan’s expertise

in underwater salvaging?


Takashima is a small island in Nagasaki prefecture.
This museum has many exhibits

showcasing underwater relics.


They mostly come from the

Goryeo-Mongol Allied fleet ships.


During Goryeo King Wonjong’s and King Chungnyeol’s rule,

the Goryeo-Mongol Allied fleet sailed


to Japan to mount an invasion.

But the fleet invasion failed.


These artifacts were recovered
from the sunken ships from the

Goryeo-Mongol Allied fleet


Two shipwrecks were found,
but Japan has not taken any

steps to excavate them.


Hishiko Yamashita, Researcher / Takashima Folk History Archives
Salvaging a sunken ship

is a very expensive undertaking.
Then there’s the challenge of

preserving the shipwreck
once it is brought up because it will

start rotting immediately when exposed to air.
We don’t have the facilities to handle that.
Currently, the Nara National Research

Institute for Cultural Properties is full.
There are also fugu fish farms

in the area that would be affected.
We couldn’t proceed with a salvage

operation without addressing these matters first.
Tomonoura harbor, Takashima
This is an underwater salvage operation

in Takashima.


In Japan, salvage projects are not
funded by the central government unlike South Korea.
They rely on funding

from the local county or prefecture.


But due to lack of funding,
the size of the salvage operations are scaled back.
Prof. Ikeda Yoshifumi / University of the Ryukyus
If we were to start a full salvage operation

of the shipwreck we could lift it up.
But the shipwreck is still lying on the seafloor.
Therefore, we have to constantly monitor

the state of its preservation in the water.
It’s necessary to study the

changes in the ocean environment.
That’s what we’re doing here today.
Many of the ships in the

Goryeo-Mongol Allied fleet were battleships.


Hence, unlike the merchant ship Shinan,

few precious relics will be found in the wreck.


The prospect of salvaging

the whole ship are uncertain.


So the salvage team will only

examine the ship’s state of decay.


Prof. Ikeda Yoshifumi / University of the Ryukyus
We have put sensors
around the shipwreck such as oxygen

saturation measurement instruments.
So today we’ll be replacing them.
And there are pieces of wood,

metal and copper pieces
strewn around the second shipwreck.
So we’ll conduct an experiment
to see the rate of decay

under the ocean over a year’s time.
There are three levels.
Between the 2nd and 3rd level
you need to insert it this deep.
You can break through the wall.

And then press down.
- Plant it in the mud?

- Yes, that’s correct.
After discussing how

to carry out the operation,


the team of divers

enter the water to study the shipwreck.


One by one the team of investigators

dive into the sea.


Because Japan has little experience

in underwater archaeology,


Prof. Ikeda and his team

face many challenges.


The most important mission
today is to retrieve wood samples.
The team already

installed control samples of different woods.


They will try to study the rate of decay
of different woods in the ocean.
Their work is limited to mostly gathering data.
Akinobu Yanagida, Researcher / Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties
This layer is exposed to the ocean.
And the layer down here is very deep.
You see faster decay near the top.
And the decay rate is slower

as you go deeper down.
Depending on how deep the ship

is submerged...
Decay is slower in parts of the
boat that have sunk deeper into the mud.
The excavation of the Shinan

was a massive state undertaking.


During its eight years of salvage work,
it was carried out like a military mission.
The experience from salvaging the Shina
raised the Korea’s level of expertise in underwater

archaeology to world-class levels.


On the other hand, Japan is at the

beginning stage of underwater archaeology.


Prof. Ikeda is envious of South Korea’s

experience in underwater archaeology.


Prof. Ikeda Yoshifumi / University of the Ryukyus
It’s hard to say we that have any

salvage plans in the future.
But it’s not likely that leaving
the shipwreck in the sea will keep

it well preserved.
If the test results turn out promising we

might be able to keep it well preserved in the sea.
If possible, I would like to salvage the shipwreck

like the way South Korea does
and have it exhibited in a museum where

we can then preserve it.
Prof. Ikeda is at the forefront

of underwater archaeology in Japan.


He also dreams of a great discovery like

the finding of the Shinan shipwreck.


When will his dream come true?
National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage / Mokpo, Jeollanam-do
The Shinan shipwreck was

Korea’s first underwater salvage project.


Shinan
The last stage of the excavation

was bringing up the whole ship onto land.


A total of 720 wooden pieces

were recovered.


It took 28 years since the wreck

was first discovered to restore the ship.


Removing the salt from the wood and treating

it to keep it well-preserved took 18 years.


After another eight years of

reconstructing the parts,


the ship was finally restored.
Shinan excavation / • Country/Era: China Yuan dynasty () 1323 • Location of shipwreck: Bangchuk-ri, Jeungdo-myeon, Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do • Salvaged period: 1976~1984 11차례
Jindo excavation / • Country/Era: China Yuan dynasty () 13th ~14th century • Location of shipwreck: Byeokpa-ri, Gogun-myeon, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do •Salvaged period: 1991~1992
Wando excavation / • Country/Era: Goryeo, 12th century • Location of shipwreck: Eodu-ri, Yaksan-myeon, Wando-gun, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do •Salvaged period: 1933~1984
Mokpo Dalido excavation / • Country/Era: Goryeo, 13th ~14th century • Location of shipwreck: Dallido Island, Chungmu-dong, Mokpo, Jeollanam-do •Salvaged period: 1995
The Shinan excavation
ushered in a series of major

excavations projects around Korea.


Based on the experience of salvaging

the Shinan shipwreck,


Korea gained extensive expertise

in underwater excavations.


Gunsan Shibidongpado ship excavation / • Country/Era: Goryeo, 11th century • Location of shipwreck: Shibidongpado Island, Okdo-myeon Gunsan, Jeollabukdo •Salvaged period: 2003~2004
Shinan Anjwadosun ship excavation / • Country/Era: Goryeo, 14th century • Location of shipwreck: Geumsan-ri, Anjwa-myeon, Shinan-gun, Jeollanam-do •Salvaged period: 2005
Ansan Daebudo One and Two excavation / • Country/Era: Goryeo, 12th ~13th century • Location of shipwreck: Daebudo Island, Danwon-gu, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do •Salvaged period: 2006, 2015
Taean Mado One, Two, and Three excavation / • Country/Era: Goryeo, 13th century • Location of shipwreck: Mado Island, Geunheung-myeon, Taean-gun, Chungcheongnam-do •Salvaged period: 2009~2011
Incheon Yeongheungdoseon ship excavation / • Country/Era: Unified Silla • Location of shipwreck: Seomeobbeol, Yeongheung-myeon, Woongjin-gun, Incheon •Salvaged period: 2012~2013
Taean Mado Four excavation / • Country/Era: Joseon, 1417~1425 • Location of shipwreck: Mado Island, Geunheung-myeon, Chungcheongnam-do Taean-gun •Salvaged period: 2015
40 years after the Shinan was found,

13 more ancient ships


and 120,000 relics were

excavated in the nation.


These are great undertakings

in retracing history.


At this beautiful and calm sea...
a fisherman found a remarkable porcelain vase.
It led to a greater discovery.
Oryu-ri, Jindo-gun, Jeollanam-do
Even today, underwater missions

are taking place off the coast of Korea.


One sea mission is underway near

Oryu-ri, Jindo county.


It’s in the famous Myeonglyang Sea.
Before the diving mission begins,

the men gather for an intense briefing.


Underwater expeditions carry great risks.
To minimize them, the divers need to be

well-prepared and carefully check their equipment.


Koh Sung-soo / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage
When doing work underwater,
divers need the help of lines.
We call this a grid.
So we make a square grid using ropes.
And the diver works within that space.
It’s a 10-by-10 meter square grid.
So you move from that square to another.
This is a zoomed image of the grid.
Once we start excavating a particular spot,
we will make the grid smaller into a

1-by-1 meter grid.
The divers prepare to dive.
They’ve checked their life support equipment

and are ready to go.


Diver No. 4 is diving.
Like the waters around Jeungdo,

visibility is poor here as well.


The divers can barely see a few feet

in front of them.


And the underwater current is treacherously strong.
A careless mistake can have fatal results.
That is why the control room

needs to monitor the situation closely.


Every step is logged meticulously.
Roh Gyung-jung / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage
When working underwater to remove silt,
we will stop work if
we find any signs of a relic.
To check the relics,
we will personally dive to take
pictures of it or take measurements.
Based on what we find, we will decide

how to proceed with the relic.
So the work we do at the control center
is very critical in our underwater

excavation mission.
Here off the coast of Oryu-ri, there

are many relics strewn across the seafloor.


Salvaging even one relic is not an easy task.
Today, they are making good progress.
One diver surfaces after

completing his mission.


Good job.
Park Yong-gi, Dive team leader / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage
What did he find in the sea?
One ceramic piece turns up in his container.
This is a Goryeo period Sanggam celadon.
It’s used as an oil container.
Kim Byung-geun, Researcher / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage
In my 20 years of doing

underwater excavations,
this is the prettiest celadon

I’ve ever seen.
I’ve never see one like it, too.
Well done.
Goryeo sanggam celadon – oil container
What history lies behind this celadon piece?
700 years ago,

the Shinan was on its last voyage.


Please have mercy on me, Buddha.
The ship encountered a storm
and the conditions became extremely dangerous.
There was little the people could do.
And then the ship sank.
All the precious cargo including the

ceramics, coins and other goods
came to rest on the bottom of the sea.
And the fate of the passengers was sealed.
The sunken treasure was

left undisturbed for 700 years.
The Shinan artifacts reveal the history

of 13th-century Asia.


These relics also reveal the

kind of people aboard the Shinan.


The crew of the Shinan was comprised

of Chinese, Korean and Japanese sailors.


Some played chess to pass time on the long voyage.
And they ate with traditional utensils

that they were familiar with.


Based on the cargo contents,
a picture of how sea trade took place

in ancient times was also formed.


Kim Yong-han / National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage 학예실장
So the ship sank under

circumstances out of its control.
And it quickly rested to the bottom

of the area.
That is how we found it.
It is very rare to find
such a discovery on land.
Underwater relics are like time capsules
because they reveal so much information

about ancient times.
South Korea / Gaesong / Penglai (Yangtai) / Shandong Peninsula / Shanghai / Ningbo / China / Beijing / Hakata (Fukuoka) / Shinan shipwreck location
The sea route taken by the Shinan
was a busy route that merchants from

China, Korea and Japan frequently used.


This gives Koreans a profound insight
on our maritime history as the country

aims to become a major sea power in the 21st century.


The Maritime Silk Road that

linked many parts of the world together...


One leg of that road was the

sea route that the Shinan bravely took.


Kang Bong-ryong, Director / Institution for Marine & Island Cultures, Mokpo National University
By traveling by sea,
we can connect to any place in the world.
The implications for us in the modern era
is to focus on future plans
for building a new 21st century era

where the Pacific Ocean nations rise high.
I think there is much more that we need

to do to complete the Shinan voyage.
There are many other treasures

to be found under the sea even today.
And they await the day

they will be discovered.
To unlock untold history.
Funded by Cultural Heritage Administration, National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage, Jeollanam-do, Shinan-gun Office
Executive Producer / Lee Soon-yong
Co-Producers / Kim Soon-gyu, Kim Yoon-sang
Producer (China) / China CCTV, Li Xi
Co-production (China) / Gao International Culture Media
Camera / Oh Hyun-tae, Zhang Ming Quan
Camera assistant / Lee Yo-han

Lighting / Park Jong-seok
Simultaneous Recording / Shin Chul-seung
JimmyJib / Kwon Sung-hyun (MKE Media)
Helicam operator / Im Chang-lak (Green Fish)
Underwater footage (outdoor) / Kim Gang-tae (Guerilla House)
Underwater footage (indoors) / Park Sang-hoon (Pho Plaza), Jeon Chan-sung, Han Hyung-geun, Kim Sang-hyuk, Lee Young-hwan
Model / Im Hyun-ji
Wardrobe / Jang Sung-im (Codi Art J), MBC Academy Beauty School Mokpo Campus
Make-up / Lee Jin-wook (Lady Bug)
Special Effects / Ha Seung-nam (Apro Plus)
Ceramic manufacturer / Doyenong
Artifacts rental / Choi Jung-hae
Casting / J.M. Entertainment, Lee Hong-geun, Hwang Jong-min, Im Da-jung
Cast / Kim Yoon-ho, Kim Sun-gwon, Lee Soon-hwan, Park Yong, Kim Sung-mo, Kim do-hyung, Yoo Hak-seung, Kim Yong-wan, Han Ho-sun, Lee Joon-hee, Koh Gun-young
Additional casting / SB Entertainment
Translations / Daegyo Translations
Translator (Chinese) / Koh Soo-jung
Translator (Japanese) / Kim Jo-yeon
Local coordinator (China) / Jang Sung-hee, Zhang Mingjun
Local coordinator (Japan) / Lee Young-woong
Title Design, CG / Dream Mouse, Kim Dae-wook, Jang Chang-woo, Kim Da-jung, Ban Min-ah, Lee Sang-i, Ji Young-moo, Kim Sun-yeon, Yoon Yeo-lan
Color correction / Kim Ji-yong
Subtitles / Shin Myung-sun
Music, Mixing / Kim Yong-nam (Vivace Media)
Narrator / Jang Min-hyuk
Voice actor (Chinese) / Cho Hong-mae
Research / Hong Jung-hee
Local coordinators / Lee Dong-il, Kim Hyung-gun, Koh Gun-young
Accounting / Jin Jin-jung
Administration / Kim Mi-gyung, Kim Sun-mi, Oh Ha-na
Writer / Yoon Young-soo
Director / Kim Yoon-sang
Produced by MBC Mokpo Affiliate
Funded by Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, Overseeing agency / Korea Communications Agency

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