Shipwreck Recalls Really Bad Luck for 2 Invasions

Japanese find harks back to 13th-century Mongol attacks
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2015 4:03 PM CDT
Researchers Spot Medieval 'Kamikaze' Shipwreck
A diver swims over a shipwreck.   (NOAA/Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary via AP)

A shipwreck off the coast of Japan serves as evidence that no navy can defeat Mother Nature. Archaeologists spotted the wreck off the island of Takashima in southern Japan and say it belongs to one of two attempted Mongol invasions from the 13th century, Archaeology reports. Running 65 feet long by 20 feet wide, the ship still carries old ironware and Chinese ceramics that establish its connection to the Mongol fleets, researchers said last week. Both of the Mongol attacks were repulsed by devastating storms called "divine wind" or "Kamikaze" typhoons; in the second invasion, in 1281, some 140,000 Mongol fighters arrived on roughly 4,400 ships and battled samurai in northern Kyushu, the Telegraph reported a few years ago.

But when the Mongols re-boarded the boats, possibly seeking shelter in Kyushu's coves, a typhoon wiped them out. Not surprisingly, evidence of the 1281 invasion has already turned up on the island. Another wreck, a warship with a 50-foot keel, was located in 2011 with weapons on board; it was the "first near-complete pre-medieval wooden ship" found in the country, per the Telegraph. Until then, only anchor stones and cannonballs had turned up. Among the specific artifacts identified in the latest find, which was spotted roughly 650 feet off the coast: ironware, a glaze pottery vase, roof tiles, and a white porcelain bowl, Asahi Shimbun reports. Now Japanese researchers say they may have spotted three more wrecks from the Mongol attacks. (See how archaeologists found the grave of "sleeping beauty.")

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