Over 1,100 years ago, an international crew of men set sail on a perilous journey. They are returning home from Tang Dynasty China with rare ceramics and gold, created by ninth-century Chinese craftsmen, desired by the rest of the world. For centuries, China has traded with the West over land, via the Silk Road. They traveled safely from the Middle East, all the way to China. But on their return voyage, they made a fateful decision. Here, off the coast of Indonesia, the reef-filled waters are so deadly that ancient sailors called the area the Treacherous Bay.
Tilman Walterfang was lured here in the late 1990s, in search of undersea treasure. An engineer by trade in his native Germany, Walterfang maintains a lifelong passion for ancient art. He comes to Indonesia on a quest for big discoveries. Local fishermen find a mound of ceramics on the seabed. Based on the designs, they appear to have been created between 600 and 900AD, in Tang China. Walterfang hires Mike Flecker, an Australian maritime archaeologist, to manage the excavation. The whole vessel was buried. It had 1,100 years of sediment accumulated on top of that.
Underneath the coral covering are countless jars stacked to the brim with bowls, plates, vases and jewelry. The team recovers some 60,000 pieces, mostly ceramics, but also precious items of gold, silver and bronze. There’s nothing written, there aren’t any archaeological reports. Ancient records tell of Arab and Persian fleets that traversed Asian seas, but no such boat from the time has ever been found.
This one was covered by a layer of sand that prevented worms from attacking the wood. Every element of the wreck is potential evidence that the Maritime Silk Route existed. A bronze mirror bears a compelling clue, with the inscription: “Smelted one hundred times in the city of Yangzhou on the Yangtze river in December 758.” Without a doubt, the treasure is from Tang Dynasty China. Radiocarbon analysis dates fragments of the wooden hull to between 700 and 900 AD. During that era, only Arab and Indian craftsmen were building ocean-going ships of this type. The wooden fragments provide crucial evidence of the boat’s origins. Afzilia Africana is a hardwood once prized by the ancient Arab boat builders. The wood is found across Africa, from Senegal to Uganda. If it’s a timber coming from Africa, it’s far more likely that it was just transported the short distance up to Yemen or Oman and the vessel was built there.
I’m preparing for my graduation project (1/5) 我正在準備畢業專題（一） A: The semester is almost over. What have you been up to recently? B: I’m in the middle of preparing for my graduation project. A: Graduation project? What’s it on? B: We have to present a research paper and do a product display. A: 這學期就快要結束了，你最近都在忙些什麼？ B: 我正在準備畢業專題。 A: 畢業專題？內容包括什麼？ B: 我們要發表研究報告，還要進行商品展示唷。 （Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報張聖恩） Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.
In the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Benjamin’s life that ages in reverse made a profound impression on audiences. US teenager Adalia Rose had a similar life to the movie’s protagonist. She was diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome when she was three months old, making her look like an elderly person. However, Rose’s passion towards life was second to none. She often shared videos of her daily life, makeup tutorials, and dancing on social media. Because of her radiating positivity, she amassed a huge following online, racking up 2.9 million subscribers on YouTube, 12.55 million Facebook fans, and 370,000
I’m preparing for my graduation project (3/5) 我正在準備畢業專題（三） A: Once you’ve written up the results, the paper is finished, right? B: Not yet: the final component is a discussion and the conclusion. A: It sounds really complex. B: This final section is the most important part of the research paper! A: 寫完研究結果，報告應該就完成了吧？ B: 還沒完，最後還有結果討論和研究結論。 A: 聽起來好複雜。 B: 這部分可是研究報告的重點呢！ （Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報張聖恩） Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.
I’m preparing for my graduation project (2/5) 我正在準備畢業專題 （二） A: You have to write a research paper for your graduation project? Is it difficult? B: Yep. It’s basically the same as writing a graduation thesis. A: I’ve never written a thesis before. How do you write one? B: First, you have to write an introduction, then a literature review, followed by the methodology and the results. A: 你的畢業專題還要寫研究報告？很難嗎？ B: 對啊，這就像是在寫畢業論文一樣。 A: 我從來沒寫過論文耶，那要怎麼寫呢？ B: 首先要寫研究介紹和文獻回顧，再來就是方法和結果。 （Translated by Edward Jones, Taipei Times／台北時報張聖恩） Audio recordings for Speak Up! dialogues will be suspended until further notice due to the pandemic.