Athman Hussein, the director in charge of museums, sites and monuments in the
coastal region at the National Museums of Kenya, said archeologists have
discovered relics like porcelain and coins that were symbols of the Ming
Since 2010, Kenyan and Chinese archeologists have been tracing more evidence
of the great expedition through excavating a site where the two ancient Chinese
ships are said to have sunk after hitting rocks, Hussein told Xinhua.
"During the first phase of this joint research project, we discovered
porcelain, iron ore and coins used in the Ming dynasty.
"They are evidence of Sino-Kenya ties that have survived six centuries," he
He revealed that the second phase of the archeological project will involve
excavating the entire shipwreck site for more discovery.
"After the second phase is over, we intend to establish a public gallery
where artifacts discovered in the shipwreck will be displayed," Hussein said,
adding that the discovery of Chinese shipwreck will boost cultural tourism in
Today, the long-standing ties between people of the two continents have been
renewed by more and more Chinese coming to Africa for trade, investment and
Still in Lamu, a Chinese company is carrying out the construction work on the
Lamu port—which could be a best memorial for Zheng He’s circumnavigation.
ADVENTUROUS ADMIRAL ZHENG HE:
Early Chinese mariners had a variety of
contacts with Kenya
Archaeologists have found Chinese porcelains made during the
Tang dynasty (618–907) in Kenyan villages; however, these were believed to have
been brought over by Zheng He during his 15th century ocean voyages.
On Lamu Island off the Kenyan coast, local oral tradition maintains that 20
shipwrecked Chinese sailors, possibly part of Zheng’s fleet, washed up on shore
there hundreds of years ago. Given permission to settle by local tribes after
having killed a dangerous python, they converted to Islam and married local