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VietNam recovers first 12,000 ceramics from ancient shipwreck

More than 80 percent of the recovered ceramics — including bowls, vases, plates, and cups — are in good condition, said Nguyen Thi Hai, deputy director of the Binh Thuan provincial museum, where the objects are being stored.

Another shipment of recovered items is on its way to the museum, she said.

Eighteen divers, four archaeologists and nearly 30 support personnel began the operation on Sept. 14, and so far have only recovered items from part of the sunken ship's tail, Hai said.

Authorities still do not know the nationality of the wooden ship, when it sank, or how many items it holds.

It lies 41 meters (135 feet) below the surface about 65 kilometers (40 miles) off the coast of Binh Thuan province.

Local fishermen, who found the wreckage more than a year ago, looted many ceramic objects that were later seized by authorities and are being stored in the museum.

The government will keep the most significant objects and auction the rest, with the central government taking 30 percent of the proceeds. The remainder of the profits will be split between the local government and the salvage companies. The value of the cargo is still unknown


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