MARITIME EXPLORATIONS
THE PHU QUOC SHIPWRECK (14th-15th C.)

Background

The Phu Quoc Wreck is that of a Thai ship of the 14th or early 15th century. It was found by Vietnamese fishermen off the island of Phu Quoc on the west coast of Vietnam, and partially looted before it came to the attention of the Vietnam Salvage Corporation (Visal). In 1991 Visal called on Flecker and friend Warren Blake to assess the wreck.

The compartmentalised hull was found to be in excellent condition. Unfortunately the cargo of Thai ceramics had suffered major damage during the wrecking process and through looting. It was not thought to be a commercially viable excavation, although Visal later returned to recover the intact ceramics.

 

Spread

The wreck assessment was undertaken from a confiscated Thai fishing boat equipped with a hooka diving system. A small airlift was used to dig test trenches across the site and a longitudinal trench along the ship's centreline.

 

Recovered Cargo

Some 1,100 intact Sawankhalok ceramic items were recovered during the survey, consisting mostly of bowls and small jars. Several thousand more pieces were later recovered by Visal.

Phu Quoc Wreck Details and Photos

 

Cargo Disposition

A selection of the ceramics was displayed in the Ho Chi Minh City Art Museum, while the remainder was offered for sale.

Publications

1. A Preliminary Survey of a Southeast Asian Wreck, Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, Flecker, M., Blake, W., International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, Vol. 23(2), 1994.

2. Submerged Treasures, Flecker, M., Silver Kris, Singapore Airlines Inflight Magazine, January 1995.

 
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