A ship belonging to one of Kublai Khan’s missing fleets may have been discovered just off of the coast of Japan, marine archaeologists revealed on Wednesday.
According to Japanese legend, two great typhoons, known as the “Kamikaze” or the “divine winds”, wiped out two separate fleets of Kublai Khan’s invading navy vessels in a period of seven years. Between the two fleets, somewhere over 4,400 vessels were said to have sailed from Korea in an attempt to invade Japan, most or all of which were lost.
Marine archaeologists believe the recently discovered ship to be part of the second, larger fleet that sailed from Korea in 1281. The ship was discovered using ultrasound equipment – it was found 3 feet below the seabed in waters around 82 feet deep.
“This discovery was of major importance for our research,” said Yoshifumi Ikeda, a professor of archaeology at Okinawa’s University of the Ryukyus “We are planning to expand search efforts and find further information that can help us restore the whole ship.”
The shipwreck was surprisingly well preserved, Ikeda said, being one of the only ships from that era discovered with its hull intact.
“I believe we will be able to understand more about shipbuilding skills at the time as well as the actual situation of exchanges in East Asia,” Ikeda said.
CNN reports that nearly 4,000 artifacts, believed to belong to the Yuan Dynasty invasion fleet, have been located in the area, including cannon balls and stone anchors.
Ikeda told reporters at the news conference that the team has no plans currently to recover the wreck. Instead, they’ll be focusing on conserving the site to prevent any damage after it was dug up from the sea bed.