Hong Kong MTR excavations could reveal Song Dynasty past

Excavation of wells in Hong Kong MTR sites. Source: South China Morning Post, 20140602

The remains of buildings found in Hong Kong during the construction of the MTR lines may hint at links to the Song Dynasty. There is some concern that not enough is being done to preserve these archaeological remains.

Excavation of wells in Hong Kong MTR sites. Source: South China Morning Post, 20140602
Excavation of wells in Hong Kong MTR sites. Source: South China Morning Post, 20140602

Antiquities Board urges MTR to protect ancient relics
The Standard, 29 May 2014

Excavation at MTR site could help prove Song dynasty’s links to Hong Kong
South China Morning Post, 02 June 2014

An archaeologist hired by the MTR Corporation has unearthed thousands of clues, including two intact wells dating back to the Song (960-1279AD), or perhaps the Yuan, (1279-1368AD) dynasties.

“This is very important because the era matches the stories told from written records,” says Professor Chiu Yu-lok, a historian at the Open University of Hong Kong. “They show the existence of mature settlements in the area in that period.”

Independent Hong Kong historian Anthony Chan Tin-kuen says the discoveries offer a plausible explanation for the brothers’ story.

“When the emperor and his people took refuge, they needed food and other materials and therefore would not stay in a barren place,” he says. “The location of wells indicates a populous area in the Song-Yuan era.”

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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