Merlindown has for a number of years been working with Gavin Menzies’ team to locate Chinese fleet vessels of Zheng He (1371-1433), a mariner, explorer and fleet admiral during China’s early Ming Dynasty.  Merlindown was commissioned by Cedric Bell to look for the Great Super Junk Harbours in New Zealand, together with Chinese vessels which sailed there in 1450s.

This posting concerns one of the largest wrecks of a Chinese giant super junk ever discovered, this in Lake Pol in China, now a desert region.

It is difficult to judge the scale of this ship owing to it being located in a desert. However, we know from historical documents on the construction of the Great Wall of China that a super junk lies at each end of the wall. The vessel described in this posting could still have sailed out of Lake Pol as late as the 1950s, but thereafter the lake was used for nuclear testing and was finally drained in 1974 for irrigation. The ship is periodically covered by sand dunes.

Super-Junk-0002In order to determine whether this was a ship or bedrock it was scanned using the deepscan facility of Merlindown which clearly shows it as being a ship, as shown in this image. This vessel is over 2000 feet in length, has a beam of 150 feet and would have had between 7 and10 masts. It is made of a mixture of resin bearing trees together with whole bamboo trunks for strength, water resistance and durability. It has laid in its current position for at least seven hundred years.  Merlindown has discovered other super junk wrecks but not in such a state of preservation and as historically sound as this.