Metro construction site in Hongkong yielded significant archaeological find

Nov 2013
43
Palatine Hill
#1
It may turn out to be the most significant archaeological discovery ever in Hongkong, yet the discovery hasn't attracted attention from new media outside of Hongkong yet, therefore I've decided to share the latest discovery on this website.

Thousands of ancient artifacts have turned up during the construction of one of the new metro station of a new metro line (Shatin to Central line), dating from Southern Song Dynasty (12-13th century) for the earliest to British colonial era (19th-20th century) for the latest. Finds included pottery fragments, copper coins from different time period, and ancient ruins. It is a significant discovery that has revealed the occupational profile of North-Eastern Kowloon peninsula in Hongkong for the past 900 years.


ruins of Song settlement found right beneath the planned site of To Kwa Wan station

Historical background of the discovery
During the Southern Song Dynasty, the underdeveloped Southern frontier region had received significant boost in terms of economic and political significance since most of the Song territory north of Yangtze river had been lost to semi-nomadic Jurchen people. Military expeditions aimed at attempting to recover the lost territory had ultimately ended in failure due to complicated political problems. Economic activities experienced a southward shift since then, and the South flourished under a century of relative stability South of the Yangtze. During the last days of Song's spectacular demise at the hand of Mongol warriors, Hongkong had once sheltered the Song emperors who fled the capital city in Hangzhou. Close to the excavation site stood a monument commemorating the two young emperor's temporary stay, hinting at presence of Song settlement nearby which was possibly confirmed by the recent find.

Some significant finds:
An open air drain dated from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279AD), well preserved and the first similar find in Hongkong

Foundation of houses dated to the same period of time

square stone well from the same period of time, well preserved and a rare find in the Southeast


The Antiquities Authority of Hong Kong and the Metro company MTR have been in the process of on-going discussion to decide the fate of the ancient ruins. Whether they will be preserved in-situ or removed to museum located somewhere else.