Chiara Visconti . A Cargo of Chinese Porcelain from a Shipwreck in the Red Sea
The wreck of Umm Lajj, named after the nearby town on the coast of Saudi Arabia, was discovered by chance around 10 years ago at a depth of 22 metres some 230 nautical miles north of Jeddah, the port for Mecca, in the central-northern sector of the Red Sea. The wreck suffered a certain amount of plundering before it attracted the attention of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), who placed the area of seawaters between the ports of Yanbu al-Bahr and Umm Lajj under protection in 2015. The same year saw the launch of survey and excavation campaigns conducted by a team of researchers from the SCTH and the Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’ (UNO), Italy, led by archaeologists Chiara Zazzaro and Romolo Loreto (UNO has a long tradition in the field of archaeology and in working on the Arabian peninsula). Although still in the early stages, the investigation has yielded sufficient evidence for us to advance our first conjectures on the attribution and dating of the remains (Zazzaro, Loreto and Visconti, 2017).