Jakarta (AFP) Ancient treasure worth an estimated $80 million (Dh293.8 million) which was found in a ship that sank off Indonesia 1,000 years ago is up for sale again, the head of the excavation team said on Monday.
The "Cirebon treasure" was discovered in a wreck off the port of Cirebon on Indonesia's Java island and contains about 250,000 precious objects, including crystal, pearls and gold.
"[The haul] is certainly the largest ever found in Southeast Asia in terms of both quality and quantity," Luc Heymans, the Belgian director of Cosmix Underwater Research Ltd, the Dubai-based firm that excavated the find, said in an email. The treasure was recovered from the wreck of a merchant ship that dates back to about about 960AD.
After six years of red tape, the excavators finally gained permission to sell the treasure, although some of it was given to the Indonesian government. It failed to find a buyer at an auction in Indonesia in May 2010, when organisers estimated its worth at $80 million, but has now been exported to Singapore, the region's trade and financial hub.