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stepping stones of maritime history


Wrecks of this age are rare finds and the Belitung wreck is the only 9th-century Arabic dhow that has been found.

The Belitung wreck yielded two important archaeological discoveries: its cargo and its hull. The majority of the recovered cargo (60,000 pieces) consists of ceramics, most of which are Changsha ware.

The cargo also represents the biggest single collection of Tang Dynasty artefacts found in one location, and because of that is also called the ‘Tang Treasure’.


The Belitung wreck is the first ancient Arabian ship to be found and excavated. The dhow is a traditional sailing vessel with one or more masts with lateen sails used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. The Belitung wreck’s planks were sewn together using a thin rope made of coconut fibres, rather than using the more traditional methods of pegs or nails used in Arabia in later centuries.

Length58 feet (17.7 m)
Width21 feet (6.4 m)


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