“Keys to the Past: Artefacts and Records” Exhibition
Beginning as the pastime of amateurs, archaeological work in Hong Kong has been developing for more than 80 years. As early as the 1920s and 30s, Shellshear, Heanley, Schofield, Father Finn and Chen Kung-chieh, etc., were actively involved in local archaeology. They conducted extensive surveys in many sites, and excavated at sites including Tung Wan of Shek Pik on Lantau Island and Tai Wan on Lamma Island. Some of their primary records have been preserved, which provide invaluable information on the history and archaeological development of Hong Kong.
The discovery of the Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb in 1955 aroused considerable attention in archaeology, and the Archaeological Team of the University of Hong Kong was subsequently founded in 1956. The team then became the Hong Kong Archaeological Society in 1967, which aimed to gather archaeology enthusiasts and to organize excavation projects. The society has since conducted large-scale excavations at various archaeological sites such as Sham Wan on Lamma Island, Lung Kwu Chau in Tuen Mun, and Chek Lap Kok Island. Based on the excavation results, archaeologists were able to establish the cultural seriation of Hong Kong. Archaeology in Hong Kong has gradually entered a professional era. Excavation and field records are now conducted and recorded in a more scientific and standardized way than before.
This exhibition, jointly organized by the Antiquities and Monuments Office and the Hong Kong Archaeological Society, showcases local artefacts and field records, and introduces the changes in excavation methods and archaeological records, which reflect the development of archaeology in Hong Kong. It also demonstrates how archaeologists open the door to the past with these keys, and reconstruct the lives of early inhabitants.