An 18-tonne iron plate that was confirmed to be part of the wreckage of a renowned battleship of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) has been lifted out of the water in east China's Shandong Province, archaeologists said on Saturday.
The plate, 2.86 meters long, 2.6 meters wide, and 0.33 meters thick, was craned out of the seawater near Liugong Island in the city of Weihai, the former base of the Beiyang Fleet, on Thursday, which marked the 126th anniversary of the First Sino-Japanese War, commonly known in China as the Jiawu War.
The plate provided strong evidence that the shipwreck was part of Dingyuan, a flagship vessel of the Beiyang Fleet, as it echoed the written records in the shipbuilding contract of Dingyuan in terms of material and other details, said Zhou Chunshui, leader of the underwater archaeological survey team of the Dingyuan Battleship.
According to the national center of the underwater cultural heritage of the National Cultural Heritage Administration, which led the salvage, the iron plate is the only armor plate retrieved from the water, so far, that was used to protect the battleships of the Beiyang Fleet.
The plate has been moved to the former base of the Beiyang Fleet at Liugong Island and is being desalted for preservation.
With a displacement of 7,670 long tons, Dingyuan was built in Germany by the commission of the Qing Dynasty. It was damaged after being torpedoed by the invading Japanese fleet in February 1895, before its captain ordered it scuttled to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.