A several centuries old wreck of a ship, which scientists believe it took part in a failed Mongol invasion of Japan, was discovered off the Japanese coast in Nagasaki Prefecture.
Researchers from the Okinawa-based University of the Ryukyus used ultrasound equipment to find a surprisingly well preserved 12-metre section of keel buried in sand. They said it was the largest piece of hull recovered from the Mongol invasion ships.
The wood on the hull was held together by nails and was painted whitish grey. The researchers found weapons, bricks and other instruments on board.
The Mongols suffered unexpected defeats at the peak of their power, in both their attempts to invade Japan, in 1274 and 1281. Powerful storms, which Japanese have attributed a divine source to ever since, have wrecked the Mongol fleets during both attempted invasions.
As Central Asian nomads, the Mongols were very good archers but not at all experienced sailors. They used mainly Chinese and Korean prisoners to build their ships.
The researchers think that the newly discovered ship resembles Chinese ships of the era.