Taiwan's newest museum dedicated to displaying archaeological treasures unearthed during the construction of a science park in Tainan City began its soft opening on Dec. 26.
The Southern Taiwan Science Park Branch (南科考古館) of the National Museum of Prehistory holds concrete evidence of Tainan's importance in the prehistory of Taiwan. Over 50 archaeological sites were discovered during the preliminary assessment and construction of the Southern Taiwan Science Park during the 1990s, leading to a ten-year plan for the establishment of a venue that could house the excavated artifacts.
More than 3,500 years ago, the site of the Tainan science park was a lagoon that gradually enclosed over time. Findings from the "trash pits" of the excavated prehistoric settlements show a large number of seashells, meaning that the region was once located along the coast. Other fascinating discoveries include rice grains, stone tools, iron implements, and pottery shards.
Vice Minister Lee Lien-chuan (李連權) pointed out that the science park is currently the largest active excavation area in Taiwan, noting that these findings underscore the importance of the Tainan region during the island's prehistoric development.
"Over 8 million artifacts from six major archaeological periods dating from over 5,000 to 300 years ago have been uncovered from these 58 sites in the science park area," said the Vice Minister. "These include over 2,000 intact human remains that have preserved the lifestyles and customs of these early settlers."
At the Dec. 26 opening ceremony, indigenous elders from the Siraya tribe were invited to hold a sacred ritual requesting the blessing of their ancestors. Offerings of water, bonesets, wine, and betel nuts were also presented to reflect respect for nature and her guardian spirits.
During the soft opening, the National Museum of Prehistory’s Southern Taiwan Science Park Branch will only be available by group appointments. The 24,000-square-meter venue will officially open to the general public in early 2019. More information can be found here.