【To the New Era and New Heaven and Earth・Young Underwater Archaeologists】

24 years ago, Guangdong Yamen, the bottom of Yinzhou Lake. No amount of sunlight can reach here.

The "searchlight" on the heads of the two divers, the only two star spots in the deep water, can be engulfed in darkness at any time.

Creeping underwater, groping forward. The two divers, Cui Yong, then 37, and his dive companion, are archaeological experts at the Guangdong Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, investigating the underwater remains of the ancient battlefield of the Battle of Yamen in the Song-Yuan Sea.

Undercurrents roll, mud and sand roll, and searchlight only extends visibility by a few tens of centimeters. Cui Yong and his dive companion slowly marched at the bottom of the lake.

Suddenly, a pull hit my back, and I couldn't continue! Intuition told him - it was a terrible fishing net!

The visibility is too low, you can only rely on groping! No more rescue, only each other! The underwater crisis was solved by calmly helping him cut the entangled fishing net with a diving knife.

10 years later, in the waters of Pingtan, Fujian, the wreck site of Jiuliang No. <>.

On the surface of the water, in the turbulence, Cui Yong's student, 26-year-old Wang Zebing, grabbed the lifeline with all his strength.

The rapids pushed him underwater, threw him out of the water, and fiddled with the archaeologist wantonly. He did not dare to relax in the slightest, and if he let go, he did not know where the current would take him.

Wang Zebing from the Shandong Underwater Archaeology Research Center is one of the archaeological experts who participated in the 5th training course for underwater archaeology professionals of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

On the day of the incident, the team members took turns to conduct underwater archaeology training in groups of two. After completing the underwater operation, Wang Zebing took off his heavy diving equipment and rested on the boat. Suddenly, an emergency appeared, in order to save another group of teammates who were washed away by the current, Wang Zebing "traveled light" and went into the water to save people.

Just after he was launched, the currents became even more violent. The lifeline he carried to save people became his tool to save himself in danger.

20 minutes later, Wang Zebing was rescued on board, and the teammates who were washed away were also rescued by the distant operation boat. These 20 minutes, Wang Zebing felt very long, he "seemed to have exhausted his life's strength" to grab the life-saving rope.

In his later research career of more than ten years, whenever he encountered difficulties, he would recall this moment. "It condenses my professional honor." Wang Zebing said that this is the proud pursuit of underwater archaeologists - risking their lives to do scientific research.

These are just two snippets of the underwater archaeology team, a "special forces" that has been established for more than 30 years.

In March, when reporters came to the archaeological research center of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage to interview, some of the young people were resting. Most of their faces have been deeply carved by the river and sea breeze, and their skin has been baked by the blazing sun, but their eyes are full of bravery, perseverance and innocence, and full of thirst for knowledge.

It was this pair of eyes that saw the underwater Nanhai No. 1, the Holy Grail Island shipwreck, and the Dingyuan ship for the first time before the camera and camera... It represents the first intimate contact with those ancient human civilizations that have been sealed for a long time.


Being entangled in fishing nets and washed by the current are all "small scenes".

When underwater archaeologists recount the dangers they have encountered, they all laugh heartily: "In Qingdao, I went out of the water with a jellyfish, and my face was stung like a big flower cat. "We're pretty much the same. I went to Dongji Island to investigate, and the jellyfish 'painted' me a sausage mouth. ”

Dangers are not uncommon in underwater archaeology. However, Cui Yong, who is already in his retirement year, still plans to enter the water this year, and he hopes to bring more juniors into this significant field.

What is the charm of underwater archaeology that attracts these archaeologists?

"Adventure color" is the answer of Liu Zhiyan, director of the Science and Technology Archaeology Center of the Sichuan Academy of Cultural Relics and Archaeology. Yes, who doesn't have an adventure dream in their youth?

Liu Zhiyan considers himself lucky, and the excavation trip of "Jiangkou Shenyin" is his dream fulfillment. "Jiangkou Shenyin" unearthed a large number of gold and silver treasures of Zhang Xianzhong in the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, which is a rare archaeological discovery in China that confirms the legend of the treasure. In Liu Zhiyan's view, the 5-year excavation process of "Jiangkou Shenyin" is full of exciting twists and turns, and the plot of the treasure hunting expedition in the movies "Indiana Jones" and "Tomb Raider" is just that.

No matter the wind and waves, it is better to walk around. Extraordinary courage keeps underwater archaeologists adventurous and calm.

Underwater conditions change rapidly. Sometimes, archaeologists go deep only to find themselves in waters surrounded by fishing nets; Sometimes, a single torrent floats the working archaeologists far away.

As a coach of several training courses for underwater archaeology professionals, Cui Yong will always teach "keep calm" as the first principle in case of danger to his juniors. "Each danger has a systematic and scientific way to deal with them, and only in a calm and calm state can people solve these problems step by step and methodically." Cui Yong said.

In the face of danger, panic is human instinct. But under the water, the more panicked, the more dangerous! Archaeologists must have excellent psychological quality, overcome instincts, and leave more physical strength, brain power, oxygen, and time to escape. If you find that you have entered the waters where fishing nets are everywhere, you must be cautious about withdrawing; If you are released into a distance, you must release the buoyancy column and wait for rescue.

People who have been engaged in underwater archaeology for a long time have the courage to take risks and a heart that is not fazed, and courage is a unique gift given to them by this cause.

tacit understanding

The colleagues of field archaeology share happiness and suffering, and the brothers and sisters of underwater archaeology live and die together... There is such a saying circulating among archaeologists.

In October, Wei Bay, seemingly calm and calm, is actually undercurrent. This was once the front line of coastal defense, the deep burial place of the Dingyuan ship, and the front-line battlefield of underwater archaeologists.

Before Yang Xiaobo, a member of the Shandong Underwater Archaeology Research Center, went into the water, glanced at each other with his dive partner, and then jumped into the sea. In this operation, Yang Xiaobo's dive companion is a "long machine", responsible for pulling the line to lay the probe, and he acts as a "wingman" to control the direction for the dive partner.

Cold, quiet, black, this is Yang Xiaobo's first feeling after entering the water, through the diving suit, the wetness and cold of the sea still penetrate into the bone marrow. He couldn't help but tighten the leash on his hand, felt the slight pull of his dive companion when he entered the water, and watched a faint light slowly light up around him, and his heart suddenly settled.

In a way, the relationship between potential partners is a lifelong friendship. Under the unpredictable water, even a small mistake can cause fatal injuries to archaeologists. And two team members together, there is a reliance and guarantee.

The water conditions are complicated, the operation is silent, and the archaeological team members bite the respirator, and can only communicate through gestures, or even a look, and the dive partner can comprehend. What a tacit understanding!

The dive companions are siblings, the safety supervisors who observe the situation on the surface are siblings, and the archaeological team members who are ready to enter the water at any time are also siblings. In 2018, after nearly 20 minutes of diving operations on and off Kawakawa Island, the ship's supervisors stared at the sea, and as usual, two bubbles moved gently on the water. Before they knew it, a bubble stopped moving, and everyone quickly realized that they had either found the shipwreck or were in danger underwater!

"Wear equipment, there is a situation!" The overseer grabbed the horn and shouted at another group of archaeologists. After a while, a team member came out of the water, "Quick! He was caught in a fishing net... I'm not angry enough! Before the words fell, the two emergency team members were fully equipped and dived along the bubble to rescue.

At critical moments again and again, the underwater archaeology team members used tacit understanding to build a solid security line for each other.


Diving into the water is about chasing your ideals, and staying at sea expands your horizons.

In 2010, just after completing his training, Wang Zebing walked into the Paracel Islands and began a months-long life at sea.

"Is it bitter at sea?"


The cabin was small, with only a narrow single bed, and this young "Shandong big man" had to curl up every time he slept to sleep; If you want to eat vegetables, look at the warehouse, "Ho! I have been at sea for too long, and I have rotted more than half"; Make a phone call to your family and climb to the top of the boat and hold your phone to find a signal.

But Wang Zebing and his companions felt that "it was no big deal". They rarely care about the little things of eating, drinking and sleeping, they want to talk, but the sea, heaven and earth, and history!

"Cool!" This is how the archaeologists describe themselves. When the ship goes to sea, in the vast sea, the water and the sky are the same, you can ignore the things outside the window with both ears, and focus on archaeology.

During the day, they relay into the water, and the luminous material on the bottom of the sea floats around with the current, and the fluorescence leads them to a dusty history; In the evening, they returned to their fishing boats to sort out their specimens, sometimes until the wee hours of the morning, when they looked up and collided with the starry sky.

In the middle of the night, the interest came, and this group of young men from Tiannanhaibei sat around the deck, blowing the sea breeze, competing in fishing. Catch tuna and eat it directly. In the exploration of water areas, many archaeological team members have been working for more than ten years. In the past ten years, they have not only excavated cultural relics from the water, but also discovered the freedom and open-mindedness in their hearts.

So is the sea, and so is the river.

In January 2017, the first excavation of "Jiangkou Shenyin" was launched. The Min River was turbulent and turbid, so the archaeological team chose to carry out cofferdams at the target point, changing underwater archaeology to land archaeology for excavation. "Safety and productivity have gone up, but the work process has become boring." Liu Zhiyan recalled.

For the first month, every day from opening to closing one's eyes, there was one job - digging sand. The archaeologists plunged headlong into the bottom of the river, raising their eyes to see endless mud and sand. Although it is the south, Sichuan is not warm in winter, and the boys in the team are often shirtless and bare-chested.

There were also times when I wanted to rest, but I was so tired that some team members joked that "let's go ask for rain, so we don't have to work tomorrow." But the next morning, everyone came earlier than the other, and worked harder than the other. Because they have cultural relics in the thick mud and sand in their hearts, and they can see the thick Chinese civilization in their eyes.

Archaeological excavations that year, they worked continuously for 122 days.


In 2015, in the waters of Dandong, Liaoning, a shipwreck was discovered. After several investigations, experts have not been able to grasp the identity of the wreck.

At this time, a small piece of porcelain caught the attention of underwater archaeologists. Archaeologists who did not miss any details set up a probe at the site where the porcelain was found, and after that, more small fragments were excavated here.

After stitching the fragments into a plate, the archaeologists were surprised to find that the word "Zhiyuan" appeared in the middle of the porcelain plate.

The "hero ship" of that year, the far-reaching ship, is determined from this!

A fragment confirms the identity of a ship, and underwater archaeologists show the world a great ability to see the big world in detail. And this group of intellectuals had already practiced "eighteen martial arts" before becoming an archaeological "special force".

Wang Zebing, Yang Xiaobo and Liu Zhiyan have all participated in the training course for underwater archaeology professionals organized by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage.

Instead of a training course, it is called a "devil training camp"! "As soon as we arrived, we were thrown into the pool to practice. After a short rest, the instructor took a bamboo pole to drive the person back into the water. Yang Xiaobo recalled. What impressed Wang Zebing the most was the 10,1000-meter training of the flippers that could not be moved every night at <> o'clock. He felt that the training was to train them as soldiers!

"It takes at least four years for divers to learn archaeology, and only half a year for archaeologists to learn to dive." Cui Yong, who has experienced coaching, introduced that it is undoubtedly more efficient for archaeologists to learn to dive. In the past three months of intensive training, these young archaeologists have mastered a number of diving skills such as search and recovery, boat diving, night diving, underwater photography, etc., reaching the standard of a three-star diver.

However, for a qualified underwater archaeologist, learning to dive is only the first step. Mapping, hydrology, biology, meteorology... Many young people go into the water during the day and hold books to "make up lessons" at night. In this way, China's underwater archaeology has grown from scratch, from something to stronger, and moved towards the forefront of the world.

They love it all. When the reporter interviewed, he saw that the archaeology team members liked to place various underwater equipment as souvenirs. Even next to the coffee machine in the Beijing office, put a model of an archaeological ship. When you pour a glass of water, your mind can return to those underwater highlights.

Overlooking China, the sea is surging, the rivers are turbulent, the lakes are turbulent, and how many secrets are sealed underwater?

Underwater cultural remains are half-written scripts in history, and the "end" of the story is completed by archaeological experts. Underwater archaeologists are the demystators of history, and under the water, they remove the sediment of the long river of time; Underwater, they unearth a long-submerged civilization; Underwater, they collect fragments of history and fill in the gaps in history.

This cause has attracted generations of young people to follow. Someone is getting old, but someone is always young!

(Reporter Yin Zehao, Peng Jinghui, correspondent Wang Shuwen, Guangming Daily)

(Topic support in this issue: Anseng Blue)