Relics of the Kamikaze

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<ul><li><p>8/13/2019 Relics of the Kamikaze</p><p> 1/3</p><p>That October, the years of fieldwork paid off with the discovery of the ship's remains. After 20 years of</p><p>investigation, the waters of Imari ay finally yielded, albeit in more than one piece, one of the khan's ships.</p><p>!t government"financed constr!ction of a new fish"farming installation directly atop the wreck site was</p><p>slated to begin shortly. #hile that pro$ect provided f!nds to %OA's investigations, the 2,(00"s)!are"</p><p>foot site had to be completely e*cavated by the end of 2002. #ork this past year""aided by a large team of</p><p>divers, !nderwater comm!nication systems, and an intensive program of e*cavation in cooperation withthe Takashima +!se!m of olk -istory and !lt!re and the !k!oka ity +!se!m""proceeded rapidly.</p><p>In a series of dives, I was able to watch as the site yielded an incredible array of well"preserved feat!res</p><p>and artifacts. The main portion of the wreck site lies in / feet of water and is b!ried beneath fo!r feet of</p><p>thick, visco!s m!d. #orking with a doc!mentation crew, I watched as they mapped each artifact,</p><p>photographing and then recovering ceramics, tortoiseshell combs, scraps of red leather armor, h!ll planks,</p><p>and part of a watertight b!lkhead.</p><p>The artifacts range from personal effects, s!ch as a small bowl on which was painted the name of its</p><p>owner, a commander #eng, to provisions and the implements of war. The provisions incl!de a large</p><p>n!mber of storage $ars in vario!s si1es, all of them hastily and cr!dely made. They hint at the rapid, if notr!shed, pace of the khan's mobili1ation for the invasion. &amp;o, too, do the anchor stones. hinese anchor</p><p>stones of the period are !s!ally large, well"carved, single stones that were set into the body of the stock to</p><p>weight the anchor. Those fo!nd at Takashima are only ro!ghly finished and made of two stones. +ore</p><p>easily and )!ickly completed than their longer, more finished co!nterparts, they are not as strong as the</p><p>single stone anchors. It may be that these hastily fabricated anchors contrib!ted to the fleet's demise in the</p><p>storm that dashed %!blai's hopes for the con)!est of apan</p><p>The weapons recovered from the site incl!de b!ndles of iron arrow tips or crossbow bolts, spearheads,</p><p>and more than 30 swords and sabers. 4!ring one dive, I saw a +ongol helmet !pright on the bottom, fish</p><p>swimming in and o!t of its pro$ecting brow. lose to the helmet was perhaps the most ama1ing discovery</p><p>yet made""tetsuhauor ceramic pro$ectile bomb. %OA has recovered si* of these from the wreck. Theyare the world's earliest known e*ploding pro$ectiles and the earliest direct archaeological evidence of</p><p>seagoing ordnance.</p><p>hinese alchemists invented g!npowder aro!nd A.4. 500, and by 6600 h!ge paper bombs m!ch like giant</p><p>firecrackers were being !sed in battle. hinese so!rces refer to catap!lt"la!nched e*ploding pro$ectiles in</p><p>6226, b!t some historians have arg!ed that the references date to later rewritings of the so!rces. In his</p><p>recent book In Little Need of Divine Intervention,which analy1es two apanese scrolls that depict the</p><p>+ongol invasion, owdoin ollege historian Thomas onlan s!ggests that a scene showing a sam!rai</p><p>falling from his horse as a bomb e*plodes over him was a later addition. onlan's research masterf!lly</p><p>ref!tes many of the traditional myths and commonly held perceptions of the invasion, downplaying the</p><p>n!mber of ships and troops involved and arg!ing that it was not the storms b!t the apanese defendersashore, as well as conf!sion and a lack of coordination, that thwarted the khan's two invasions. !t his</p><p>s!ggestion that the e*ploding bomb is an anachronism has now been demolished by solid archaeological</p><p>evidence. +oreover, when the apanese *"rayed two intact bombs, they fo!nd that one was filled $!st with</p><p>g!npowder while the other was packed with g!npowder and more than a do1en s)!are pieces of iron</p><p>shrapnel intended to c!t down the enemy.</p><p>The site has yielded fragmentary h!man remains. A crani!m, resting where a body had perhaps been</p><p>p!shed face down into the seabed, and a pelvis, possibly from the same individ!al, now rest in the</p><p>conservation lab awaiting analysis. This state"of"the"art lab, at the Takashima +!se!m of olk -istory and</p><p>!lt!re, is filled with containers of freshwater in which artifacts rest. Initial st!dy of the artifacts has</p><p>revealed new information abo!t the khan's forces. Only one percent of the finds can be attrib!ted to a</p></li><li><p>8/13/2019 Relics of the Kamikaze</p><p> 2/3</p></li><li><p>8/13/2019 Relics of the Kamikaze</p><p> 3/3</p></li></ul>