A Chinese company granted a concession to build a canal across Nicaragua has delivered more than 15,000 pieces of archaeological significance to the government.

Manuel Roman Lacayo is an investigator for Environmental Resources Management hired by HKND to consult on the canal project.

Roman says the pieces were collected over six weeks by 29 archaeologists and other specialists along the canal's proposed route.

The vast majority were pre-Columbian fragments of pottery or other materials such as obsidian, dating from around 500 B.C. to the 1500s. Such materials are relatively common in parts of the region.

Roman on Thursday called it the first phase of archaeological studies related to the canal.

The waterway has an estimated price tag of $50 billion and developers have targeted 2019 for completion.