Exploring the depths of underwater archaeology through shipwrecks

Researchers studying a shipwreck in waters off Pulau Bidong in 2017. — Bernama

UNDERWATER archaeology can become a new field of study for those interested in aquaculture and marine biotechnology.

Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) Centre for Research and Field Service director Assoc Prof Dr Hasrizal Shaari said shipwreck sites could be used for educational purposes.

“Training can be provided to those interested in exploring archaeological diving activities.

“We can collaborate with strategic partners such as Uzma Archaeological Research Sdn Bhd, National Heritage Department and Terengganu Museum for this purpose,” he said in Kuala Terengganu.

Hasrizal said more than 10 shipwrecks had been found in the country’s waters.

“They are Turiang, Nanyang, Longquan, Royal Nanhai, Xuande, Singtai, Wanli, Nassau, Risdam, Diana and Desaru.

“Three of the shipwrecks Longquan, Singtai and Wanli were found in waters off Terengganu,” said Hasrizal, who is also a senior lecturer in palaeoenvironment and geochemistry at UMT’s Science and Marine Environment Faculty.

He said proactive measures were needed to strengthen the field of underwater archaeological research.

The discovery of shipwrecks has led to efforts to study the state’s waters which were an important trade route in the past.

Hasrizal said a follow-up study was needed after the successful excavation of the Bidong shipwreck in the waters off Pulau Bidong in 2017.

He said the ship that sank to a depth of 18m could be explored further to facilitate the process of excavating artefacts such as stoneware glazes originating from Thailand in the 15th to 17th century.

“We are proud of the excavation which used 100% local manpower.

“We believe there are still a lot of ceramics and artefacts on the seabed of Pulau Bidong,” he said. — Bernama

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