The Hoi An Wreck lies 22 miles off the coast of central Vietnam in the South China Sea, at 16.04°N 108.6°E approximately. Discovered by fishermen in the early 1990s.
The ship was carrying a large cargo of Vietnamese ceramics dated to the mid- to late 15th century. The provenance of the pieces was known to be the kilns of the Red River Delta (such as Chu Dau) because excavations in the region had been ongoing since their discovery in 1983. The only pieces remaining at the kiln sites were faults pieces. Intact examples of the wares produced were rare, since all were exported. When the wreck was found there was excitement among collectors and archaeologists, for it promised the first cargo consisting solely of Vietnamese wares.
In 1996, Malaysian-Chinese businessman Ong Soo Hin teamed up with Oxford University archaeologist Mensun Bound to work with Vietnam's National History Museum in excavating the site. The project took four years and cost an estimated $US14 million. Over 250,000 intact ceramic artefacts were recovered.
According to the contract with the Vietnamese government, all pieces unique to the cargo were retained by Vietnam's museums for display along with 10% of the repetitive pieces. The remaining 90% was sold at auction in 2000 by Butterfields in San Francisco, USA with the Vietnamese Salvage Agency, Saga Horizon and the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture dividing any money made. The project partners were: Oxford University MARE, Saga Horizon, Vietnam National Salvage Agency (VISAL) and the National History Museum (Hanoi).
See also Vietnamese (Annamese) porcelain. See: Vietnamese (Annamese) porcealin