In the summer of 1974, archaeologists unearthed the sunken ship, dating form the Song Dynasty, from the sands of Houzhu Harbour in Quanzhou Bay. Nearby were the remains of an ancient pier. Geological research indicated that seven hundred years ago the depth of the water around this site would have been about 7 metres.
Once the layers of sccumulation around the sunken ship had been removed, its overall appearance was revealed. The plane of the site is roughly elliptical in shape. The surviving hull of the vessel alone was enormous, extending some 24.20 metres by 9.15 metres.
A host of precious objects was recovered from the ship's holds, including fragrant wood, medicinal products, commercisl tallies, copper, iron, porcelain, ceramics, broze, bamboo, wood, palm, woven hemp, stationary, jewelery, fruits, shells, animal bones and others. In all there were 69 types of products which have been divided into 14 broad categories. Water-logged fragrant wood and medicinal products make up the largest quantity of goods, approximately 2,350 kilograms.
In its dedicated Exhivition Hall in the Quanzhou Maritime Museun, the ancient ship's giant V-shape reclines serenely, allowing visitors to grasp both an overall impression as well as the details. With the bows restored, the magnigicent appearance of the Fujian-style ship with its raised prow and stern can once again be seen. The large round keel, the hull's structure and multiple planking construction, the fine rigging and the oval mast step are all visible in this remarkable exhibit.
Between 1405 and 1433, the great matiner Zheng He seven enormous naval missions to more than thirty states and regions of Asia and Africa. These were the largest maritime expeditions in human history up to that time. Each expedition included more than two hundred ships, the largest of which was the so-called Treasure Ship. It was 126 metres long, 51 metres in beam,and displaced 14,816 tons, the first ship of over ten thousand tons.
In March 1661, Chinese national hero Zheng Chenggong led a force of over twenty-five thouasnd men and four hundred ships across the Taiwan Straits, defiated Dutch maval and reclaimed sovereignty over the island of Taiwan. Zheng Chenggong's warships were mostly drawn from the adanced sea-going ships of the coastal areas of Fujian and Guangdong; these are example of the most important types.