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26 July 2009
Archeologists discover 20,000-year-old hearth in Taiwan

A team from Academia Sinica has recently discovered a Neolithic stone hearth in a cave in Taitung County that has been confirmed as the earliest human relic to have been discovered in Taiwan. After a year of investigation and research, the prehistoric archeology research team discovered the hearth at the Basiandong (Eight Deities) Historical Site, which carbon-dating reveals to be 20,000 years old, an official with the county's Cultural and Tourism Bureau said. In addition to the fire place, the research team also discovered seven new caves, bringing the number of caves discovered at the Basiandong Historical Site to 24.
     The Basiandong site attracted the attention of Japanese archeologists during the colonial period and they explored the main cave, located in a coastal cliff area in the county's Changbin Township. Between 1968 and 1969, a National Taiwan University archeology team led by professor Sung Wen-hsun worked on the site again, discovering four samples that were later carbon dated as being between 5,000 and 15,000 years old.
     To verify the dates of the relics, the Council for Cultural Planning and Development asked Academia Sinica to conduct a new round of research.

Source: Taipei Times (25 July 2009)

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