Antiques discovered in Vietnam wrecked steamship

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Divers recovered antiques from the wreck of a 19th century steamship off the central Vietnamese coast of Thua Thien-Hue Province.

The team has reportedly recovered a ceramic jar, a set of elephant foot bones and two ancient coins.

According to the Thua Thien-Hue Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the remains of the coal powered ship were discovered under the seabed, just 100 meters from a beach in Xuan Thien Ha village, Vinh Xuan Commune, Phu Vang District.

The ship is around 20 meters in length and is made from cooper-plated wood.

The provincial government is planning to salvage the wreck for historical research.

Cultural researcher Ho Tan Phan told the Tuoi Tre newspaper that the ship may have been a gift from France to the Nguyen Dynasty.

"At that time, Vietnam could not produce such a large and advanced coal-powered steamship," he explained. 

Tran Van De, chairman of Vinh Xuan Commune, said that the wreck was first discovered by local fishermen several years ago, but the provincial authorities didn't attempt to salvage it until now.

Since last year, commune authorities have chased off many divers who came to the village looking to steal antiques from the ship, he added.

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