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2 November 2008
Excavation of a 4000-year-old workshop continues at Macau

Archaeologists are planning to return to Macau to excavate up to 3000 square metres on Coloane island following the discovery of a 4000-year-old workshop at the site. Director of the Centre for Chinese Archaeology and Art at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Tang Chung, said there was still a lot of work to be done at the site that was first excavated in the late 1970s. "There is still some two-to-three thousand square metres not excavated yet, we hope to find more evidence of accessories production at this workshop site," Tang said.
     The first of five digs was carried out at Hac Sa Park by the Hong Kong Archaeological Society in the late 1970s and Tang led the last dig in conjunction with Macau University in 2006 that excavated a 124-square-metre site. Tang said the finds made in 2006 provided evidence of the daily life of a prehistoric artisan. He said the Neolithic artefacts, including ornaments and tools, were similar to those found in Vietnam, the Pearl River Delta and Taiwan.  The finds included burnt clay, a hearth, pottery shards, and a quartz ornaments workshop with quartz cobbles, blanks, flakes, a hammer, borer and tools for polishing stone.
     Tang said it was unknown at this stage when his team would return to Macau to continue the work. "Surely there is still a lot of archaeological work to be done in Macau, but it depends on the various conditions and the support of the government," he said. "It requires the coordination of many work units and an appropriate chance to come."
     Former president of the Hong Kong Archaeological Society William Meacham, who led the early digs, said it was a 'very rich site' that went down about two metres. Meacham described the information gained from the early digs as 'extremely important'. "It was quite a process of discovery and I would say there is still a lot that has not been done," he said. "I wish we had done work on the Cotai [Macau's gaming strip], it was a mud flat and there could have been prehistoric sites under the marine mud...we could have found an early Neolithic site and we have not found that yet." Meacham said at the time of the first dig Coloane island was relatively underdeveloped and the team found Neolithic pottery within the first five minutes. "It was a very big and promising site and the discoveries made were extremely important," he said. "The island is a lot more developed nowadays and it is unknown what is left."

Source: Macau Daily Times (27 October 2008)

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