Prehistoric Hong Kong

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Prehistoric Hong Kong is the period between the arrival of the first humans in Hong Kong and the start of recorded Chinese history first appeared during the Han dynasty. The history of the southern region (which may possibly include Hong Kong) is reckoned to have been first recorded in 214 BC with Qin Shi Huang conquering the Baiyue and creating the Jiaozhou province.[ citation needed ]

Contents

The prehistorical period can be divided into Stone Age and Bronze Age. Archaeology evidence suggests the earliest human settlement was in the Wong Tei Tung area dating back to 38,000 BC. [1]

Stone Age

Palaeolithic

Evidence of an Upper Paleolithic settlement in Hong Kong was found at Wong Tei Tung in Sham Chung beside the Three Fathoms Cove in Sai Kung Peninsula. There were 6000 artefacts found in a slope in the area and jointly confirmed by the Hong Kong Archaeological Society and Centre for Lingnan Archaeology of Zhongshan University. [2] It is believed that the Three Fathom Cove was a river valley during that period and ancient people collected stone tools from the lithic manufacturing site in Wong Tei Tung to the settlement in near Tolo Harbour and Mirs Bay. [3]

Neolithic

Stone Circle in Fan Lau Stone Circle at Fan Lau.JPG
Stone Circle in Fan Lau
Late Neolithic pottery found in Tung Wan Tsai, Ma Wan. Hong Kong Museum of History Coarse pottery pot with zigzag pattern, Late Neolithic period, from Tung Wan Tsai, Ma Wan, Hong Kong - Hong Kong Museum of History - DSC00729.JPG
Late Neolithic pottery found in Tung Wan Tsai, Ma Wan. Hong Kong Museum of History

The Neolithic Era began approximately 7,000 years ago in Hong Kong. Excavations of Tung Wan Tsai North (Ma Wan) and Sha Tau Kok reveal evidence of pottery during this time, but it does not reveal if there was pottery before this time due to the lack of absolute dates. The Neolithic period in this area was divided into four different phases. Phase one was when the Neolithic era began around 7000 years ago. The second phase was around 6500-6000 BP when white and painted chalkware were present along with ground adzes and axes along with flaked points. The third phase began around 6000-5000 BP, identified by white chalkware with incisions and shouldered stone implements. The final phase was around 5000-3500 BP with the presence of pottery with geometric patterns, stepped adze, shouldered adze and more ground stone implements. [4]

Hong Kong is located on the coast of South China. Unlike northern China, the settlers in this area were the Che people (Chinese :輋族). Excavated Neolithic artefacts suggest a difference from northern Chinese Stone-Age cultures, including the Longshan. Excavated sites in Hong Kong were largely located on the western shores of Hong Kong. This location was most likely chosen to avoid strong winds from the southeast and to collect food from the nearby shores. Settlement can be found in Cheung Chau, Lantau Island and Lamma Island.

Evidences of using fire were found from Chung Hom Kok on the Hong Kong Island. In late Neolithic, their settlement extends from shores to the hills nearby.

Stone circles were found in Fan Lau and other areas in Hong Kong. Its purpose is still unidentified but some suggests it is related to worship.

Bronze Age

The coming of the Warring States period brought an influx of Yuet people from the north into the area. They probably avoided the instabilities at the north and went south. Bronze fishing, combat, and ritual tools were excavated on Lantau Island and Lamma Island. Ma Wan was the earliest settlement with direct evidents in Hong Kong. Another one is Lung Kwu Tan. Bronze tools were found on Lantau Island, Cheung Chau, Chek Lap Kok as well. Regular holes on the ground were found in Ha Pak Nai. It is believed they were the foundations of grand houses of that period.

The Yuet people were competing and assimilating with indigenous Che people. It is believed that there were wars between them. Qin Shi Huang of the Qin Dynasty sent large numbers of soldiers and Qin subjects to Guangdong and made the competition harder. According to recent archaeological findings, there were possibly many significant differences between the Yue civilisation and the Qin-Han dynasties. [5] According to the historical records written during the Han dynasty, the Yue people (who originated in the Southern region of the current China along the Pearl River) were mainly barbarians with little or no civilisation. However, there is archaeological evidence suggesting that the Yue civilisation was sophisticated and advanced. [6]

There are still no written documents or artefacts related to Qin rules and early Han Dynasty rules. The excavation of Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb of later Han dynasty effectively brings Hong Kong out of prehistory.

Rock Carvings

Rock carving on Cheung Chau, 3000-year-old rock carving discovered in 1970 east of the island below Warwick Hotel. It consists of two groups of similar carved lines surrounding small depressions Cheung Chau Rock Carving 1.jpg
Rock carving on Cheung Chau, 3000-year-old rock carving discovered in 1970 east of the island below Warwick Hotel. It consists of two groups of similar carved lines surrounding small depressions

Nine rock carvings have been discovered and are listed as declared monuments:

All are believed to date back to what was the Bronze Age [17] in northern China, approximately Shang Dynasty in China. The carvings are also believed to have been intended to pacify the bad weather.

Prehistoric sites

Besides the stones circles and the rock carvings, several prehistoric sites have been studied in Hong Kong. They include:

See also

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Lantau Island

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Tung Lung Chau Island in New Territories, Hong Kong

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Tung Chung New town in Hong Kong

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Hung Shing Temple

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Shek Pik Area located along the southwestern coast of Lantau Island, Hong Kong.

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Articles related to Hong Kong include:

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Sham Chung

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References

  1. Wu, Weihong; Wang, Hong; Tan, Huizhong; Zhang, Zhenhong (2004). "2004 Trial Excavation at Wong Tei Tung Spot, Sham Chung, Archaeological Site, Hong Kong SAR" (PDF). Hong Kong Archaeological Society . Retrieved 2 December 2014.
  2. 2005 Field Archaeology on Sham Chung Site Archived 3 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  3. "Internet Archaeol. 26. Davis and Ixer. Summary. The Petrology of the Wong Tei Tung Stone Tool Manufacturing Site, Sham Chung, Hong Kong Sar, China". intarch.ac.uk. 30 September 2009. doi:10.11141/ia.26.8 . Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  4. Lu, Tracey. "The Origin and Development of Neolithic Cultures in Hong Kong" (PDF). Department of Anthropology, CUHK . Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  5. Meacham, William (2008). The Archaeology of Hong Kong. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN   978-9622099258.
  6. Finn, Daniel J. (1958). Archaeological finds on Lamma Island near Hong Kong. Ricci Hall, University of Hong Kong. ASIN   B0006CLFNI. OCLC   1500813.
  7. 1 2 3 S.G. Davis, Shirlee Edelstein, Madeleine H. Tang, "Rock Carvings in Hong Kong and the New Territories", 26 September 1973
  8. "Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carvings at Big Wave Bay". Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  9. Rock Carving at Cape Collinson
  10. "Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carving on Cheung Chau". Archived from the original on 10 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  11. "Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carving on Kau Sai Chau". Archived from the original on 5 May 2009. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  12. "Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carvings at Lung Ha Wan". Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  13. Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carvings on Po Toi
  14. "Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carvings at Shek Pik". Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 14 August 2011.
  15. Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carving on Tung Lung Chau
  16. Antiquities and Monuments Office: Rock Carvings at Wong Chuk Hang
  17. Meacham, William (2008). The Archaeology of Hong Kong. Hong Kong University Press. pp. 123–129. ISBN   978-962-209-925-8.
  18. Rogers, P., Widdowson, E.. Midden Excavation in Theory and Practice: a Han period midden site at Tung Wan Tsai, Ma Wan Island, Hong Kong Archived 28 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine . Papers from the Institute of Archaeology, North America, 7, Oct. 2009
  19. Report on the Date of the Wong Tei Tung Archaeological Assemblage, Tracey L-D Lu, Dept. of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 30 April 2007