The Lung Kwu Chau Archaeological Site
is known as one of the recorded archaeological sites in Hong Kong. The earliest cultural remains found within
the site can be dated to the middle phase of the Neolithic, representing the
beginning of cultural history in the Hong Kong area.
This chapters presents an
investigation and evaluation of the cultural heritage of the assessment area,
assessment of potential impacts associated with the proposed Project, and
identification of appropriate mitigation measures, wherever necessary.
Environmental Legislation and Standards
The legislation, polices, plans,
standards and criteria relevant to this study are:
Guidance Notes on Assessment of Impact on Sites
of Cultural Heritage in Environmental Impact Assessment Studies (GN-CH);
Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance
(EIAO) (Cap. 499);
Technical Memorandum on Environmental Impact
Assessment Process (EIAO TM);
Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53);
Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines
EIAO, EIAO TM and GN-CH
The EIAO stipulates that consideration
must be given to issues associated with cultural heritage and archaeology as
part of the EIA process. Annexes 10 and
19 of the EIAO TM outline the guideline and criteria for cultural heritage
assessment. The criteria for evaluating
impacts to sites of cultural heritage stated in Annex 10 of the EIAO TM are:
The general presumption in favour of the
protection and conservation of all sites of cultural heritage because they
provide an essential, finite and irreplaceable link between the past and the
future and are points of reference and identity for culture and tradition.
Adverse impacts on sites of cultural heritage
shall be kept to an absolute minimum.
The GH-CH serves as a reference to
assist the understanding of the requirements set out in Section 2 of Annex 10
and Annex 19 of the EIAO TM under the EIAO in assessing impact on sites of
cultural heritage in EIA studies.
Antiquities and Monuments
Ordinance (Cap. 53)
The Antiquities and Monuments
Ordinance provides statutory protection against the threat of development for
Declared Monuments including historical buildings / structures and
archaeological sites (both on land and underwater), which have been recommended
by the Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB), approved by the Chief Executive and
gazetted to enable their preservation for posterity.
Certain Deemed Monuments have been
identified by the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) and agreement reached
with the owners of the Monuments to ensure their preservation. Deemed monuments have the potential to be
upgraded to statutory Declared Monuments.
For archaeological sites, all relics
dated prior to 1800AD belong to the Hong Kong Government under the Antiquities
and Monuments Ordinance. Once
identified as having the potential for conservation, archaeological sites are
entered into the record.
Since the introduction of the EIAO,
the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) have the power to request a Marine
Archaeological Investigation (MAI) for developments affecting the seabed.
In addition, a wide range of
non-statutory sites of cultural heritage are identified and recorded by the
AMO. Recorded historic buildings and
structures are classified into grades I, II and III by the AAB to indicate
their relative importance, as defined below:
Grade I – Buildings of outstanding
merit, of which every effort should be made to preserve if possible.
Grade II – Buildings of special merit,
of which efforts should be made to selectively preserve.
Grade III – Buildings of some merit,
but not yet qualified for consideration as possible monuments. These are to be recorded and used as a pool
for future selection.
Although the graded buildings and
structures, and deemed monuments carry no statutory protection, the Government
has administrative procedures that require consideration be given to these
historic buildings and sites of cultural interest.
Hong Kong Planning Standards and
Chapter 10 of the HKPSG provides general
guidelines and measures for the conservation of historical buildings,
archaeological sites and other antiquities.
Potential impacts on the
archaeological, historical and cultural resources within the assessment area
(areas including land and seabed that will be affected by the construction of
the proposed jetty) are assessed through the study of available information and
site investigations. The scope of the
assessment covers identification and evaluation of the potential cultural
heritage impacts associated with the construction and operation of the Project,
addressing items such as:
landscape features, including sites of
historical events, historic of field patterns, tracks and cultural elements and
clan grave sites; and
archaeological remains, including a variety of
buried and upstanding forms dating from the prehistoric times and comprising
upstanding ruins, earthworks, finds scatters and evidence of landuse
management, settlements and cultural attributes.
A baseline study has been conducted to
collect available data regarding known and potential sites of cultural heritage
in the assessment area, based on:
records held by the AMO and other Government records;
archaeological and historical academic publications;
geological publications and archives information on shipwrecks in Hong
archaeological test pits for the onshore area; and
marine geophysical survey for archaeological material in the offshore
Assessment of potential impacts arising
from construction and operation of the Project has been undertaken, with
reference to the approach outlined in Annex 19 of the EIAO TM, wherever
The proposed jetty is located within
the Lung Kwu Chau (LKC) Archaeological Site (Figure 6.1). LKC is formed of Hong Kong granite and is
unoccupied. The only structure on the
island is the DVOR/DME Station on the 76 m high hill to the north.
According to the AMO, the LKC
Archaeological Site is one of the recorded archaeological sites in Hong
Kong. The earliest cultural remains can
be dated to the middle phase of the Neolithic (ca. 4000-2000 B.C.),
representing the beginning of cultural history in the Hong Kong area. Its archaeological discovery dates from
1925, when Dr. Heanley and Prof. Shellshear collected artefacts from the
site. They noted the collection of sand
from the island and the coarse cord-marked pottery commonly found on its
beaches. Subsequent investigation was
conducted by W. Schofield (1969a), W.J. Kelly (1974 and 1975), W. Meacham
(1975b) focusing on the low southern isthmus.
They found archaeological remains including coarse corded pottery,
polished adzes, polishing stones, soft and hard geometric pottery, plain and
incised chalky pottery, and human burials.
The deposits on the site belong to several major cultural periods of
Hong Kong history, including geometric pottery of the Bronze Age, celadon of
the Tang and Song dynasties, and blue-and-white porcelain wares of the Qing
dynasty, and glazed Han/Six dynasties pottery.
In 1985, archaeological surveys were
carried out by AMO on the west of the northern isthmus which are at a distance
of only approximately 100m away from the work boundary. In these surveys, coarseware and chalky sherds
were found. This strongly suggests the
potential for remains of cultural deposit in the isthmus beach area. Therefore, it is important to investigate
and confirm the distribution and density of archaeological remains should this
area be affected.
In order to obtain reliable
information on the subsurface deposits in the entire work areas, an
archaeological survey, including five test pit excavations within the works
area (Figure 6.2), was carried out in November 2001. The result of the field survey is summarised below:
Test Pit T1
the surface deposit are layers of modern fill interfaced by coarse or fine
marine sand. Some red brick pieces
might be dated to the early 20th century but they were in the same context with
modern porcelain and glass pieces.
Modern garbage were found in this pit down to the depth of over 2
meters, indicating that the beach deposit was originally extended to this part
of the site, and the low tier of the terrace was only formed in the past
Test Pit T2
modern deposit is also thick at the top, and sandy layers are also found
underneath. But at the bottom of the
pit is the reddish hard clay that is commonly found on the slope and other
three pits, indicating this location should be the original edge of the
hillfoot facing the bay.
modern or late historical remains are found from the surface layer, probably
deposited there by modern human disturbance.
Remarkably, a single piece of cord-marked sherd with sandy paste is
discovered at the bottom of C203 or surface of C204, but deposit layer
underneath is purely natural sandy silt without any sign of human
activity. This sherd might have been
carried here by either human or natural forces.
Test Pit T3
location of T3 is slightly higher than that of others, around 12 metres above
the see level. The depth of T3 is
therefore shallow than that of others, and there is no remain found from this
Test Pit T4
location of T4 is on the same level as T5 and the stratigraphy of the two pits
is also similar. A bronze coin is found
from the top layer of T4, but it has been severely worn and cannot be
recognized for its date.
Kwu Chau Island
Lung Kwu Chau Island (Dragon Drum
Island) to the west of Urmston Harbour, features prominently in early accounts
of the Hong Kong region’s maritime history. On many early charts, Lung Kwu Chau
is transliterated variously as Tung Koo, Tung Koo, Toon Oo or Toon-quoo. The
small island to the south is known as Sha Chau (Sandy Island), and frequently
appears on early charts as Saw-Chow. Lung Kwu Chau is clearly marked in O Livro
de Francisco Rodrigues, (translated by Armando Cortesão as The Suma Oriental of
Tomé Pires and The Book of Francisco Rodrigues, written in 1514). Rodrigues was
a very early Portuguese pilot, cartographer and captain who sailed in HK waters
in the early sixteenth century. Rodrigues was one of the commanders of Alvares’
flotilla during the voyage from Malacca to China in 1517-18 (Braga, 1955). His Book contains the earliest maps of the
region drawn by a European based on actual observation and by men who were
familiar with the places depicted.
Usually such maps are approximations drawn from the oral accounts of
usually Malay or Arab professional pilot (Braga, 1955).
Portuguese Presence At Lintin And Tuen Mun
Reference has been made in numerous
works to the early Portuguese presence at Lintin and Tuen Mun. The first
European navigator known to have reached the China coast, a Portuguese named
Jorge Alvares, made his landfall in 1513. Alvares commenced his mission in
Malacca, now in Malaysia, that the Portuguese had captured in 1511. Merchandise
brought from China, especially porcelain, fetched extremely high prices, with
good quality ceramics fetching twice their own weight in silver when re-sold at
Goa. Instead of relying on Chinese traders the Portuguese intended to establish
their a sea-route to China, and purchase trade goods for themselves at source.
The local mandarinate at Tuen Mun
anchorage, headquartered at nearby Nam Tau, received the Portuguese in a
friendly manner and trade commenced. A padrão or stone carved with the
Portuguese cross and crest was erected by Alvares at Lintin, though nothing of
it now survives. These stones functioned more as a marker of passage for later
seafarers than as a territorial claim, and were erected wherever the Portuguese
mariners sailed, from Mombassa and Ormuz to western India and the Moluccas.
They can still seen in some of these places today. Alvares’ young son accompanied
him on the voyage from Malacca, but he died at Lintin and was buried at the
base of the padrão erected by his father (Braga, 1955). Alvares, flotilla
remained at Tuen Mun for ten months, only returning to Malacca when the
south-west monsoon winds permitted them to sail. While not given much freedom
of movement, the traders visiting Lin Tin were not as closely confined by the
Chinese authorities as in later centuries.
Jorge Alvares made two further voyages
to China, in 1519 and again in 1521. On what was his last voyage to the China
coast, he died on 8th July 1521 and was buried beneath the padrão in the same
spot as his son (Braga, 1955). No trace remains today of the padrão. Ming
Dynasty gazetteers record that in 1516 the Portuguese came again, but the Chinese
under Naval Commander Wang Hong defeated them (Ng, 1983). Later the Portuguese
navigator Simão Peres de Andrade built a fort in the neighbourhood of Tuen Mun
without first receiving permission from the Chinese to do so; in 1521 a Chinese
naval force attacked the Portuguese in the vicinity and defeated them (Ng,
Asian Junk Trade In The Waters Around Lung Kwu Chau
The roadstead between Lintin, Nam Tau
on the northern side of Deep Bay and Tuen Mun was a popular rendezvous for
vessels from South-East Asia trading with south China. The Siamese in
particular had quite a large seasonal presence, anchoring further out along the
northern coast of Lantau. Their presence must have been of some lasting
influence; K.M.A Barnett, a Hong Kong Cadet and very talented Chinese linguist,
recorded in the 1940’s that an old temple on Lantau had some distinctly Thai
The junk trade from South-East Asia to
China in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was considerable. The chief
merchandise was pepper - at times as much as ten junk-loads a year - cloves,
nutmeg, considerable quantities of incense, elephant’s tusks, tin, apothecaries
requirements, Borneo camphor, red beads, white sandalwood, brazil, large
quantities of Straits-grown blackwood known as “Syngapura”, carnelians, and
coloured woolen cloth. (Braga, 1955).
Junks anchored in the roadstead
between Tuen Mun and Lung Kwu Chau, in the lee of Castle Peak; those from
Malacca anchored off Tuen Mun, while those from Siam stopped off the islands
round the coast presumably Lung Kwu Chau
(Braga, 1955). The principal item of trade from China exchanged in this
area was raw white silk in large quantities, loose coloured silks, satins of
all colours, damask, taffetas and other thin silk cloths known as xaas (thin
turban-material), locally-produced seed-pearls in various shapes, mostly
irregular, apothecaries camphor, alum, saltpetre, sulphur, copper, iron,
rhubarb, cast-iron kettles, bowls, basins, boxes, needles, and copper bracelets
Urmston’s Harbour, sometimes referred
to as Urmston Bay or Toon-Koo (Tung Koo) Harbour, is the passage of water
bounded by coast of Castle Peak Bay, and the small islands of Lung Kwu Chau and
Sha Chau situated just to the west of Castle Peak. Urmston Roads was named
after Sir James Brabazon Urmston, who was the British East India Company’s
China chief from 1819 to 1826. He joined the Company’s service in 1799, and in
1812 was one of the company’s supercargoes employed below the Select Committee
at Canton (Ride, 1995). The passage received its English name in 1823; prior to
that it was referred to as Toon-Koo Bay.
The stretch of sea between Kap Shui
Mun Passage, between the island of Ma Wan, and Lantau and Lung Kwu Chau was a
particularly popular anchoring point for ships in the days of East India and
country trade. Coastal waters in the vicinity were extensively surveyed by
Captain James Horsburgh, hydrographer to the East India Company in 1806-19. In
his report to the Foreign Office he enumerates, among the abundant safe
harbours near Canton, “Toong Kwu Bay, as
well as Cap Sing Mun” (Sayer 1980). By early 1836, the area was in regular
use as an anchorage. In December 1836, a party of Americans and Englishmen “[passed] through the safe anchorage known
as Urmston’s Harbour, or Toon Kwu. Till two or three years past, the
opium-laden vessels used to anchor here from July till October for shelter
against typhoons” (Sayer, 1980). During the 1840 Anglo-Chinese hostilities,
the area was used extensively by British merchant and naval vessels as they
were no longer welcome in the vicinity of Macao.
On 24th of March 1840, H.M.S. Druid arrived at Toon Kwu, and six weeks
later her commander Lord John Churchill died and was buried at Macao. With the
change of the monsoon the merchant fleet arrived at Kap Shui Mun, where in June
1840 it successfully survived an attack by ten fire-rafts. In the words of an
eye-witness, Captain Bingham “the boats
of the men-of-war quickly hooking onto these formidable-looking fire-ships
towed them ashore on The Brothers” (Sayer, 1980).
In 1857, at the time of the Second
Opium War (1857-60) Castle Peak Bay was used by the French fleet for two months
from October to December prior to the outbreak of hostilities with China
(Sayer, 1980). Urmston Road was especially popular for vessels trading
illegally at the nearby island of Lintin, a frequently used rendezvous point
for opium smugglers. In one particularly bad typhoon that struck the area the
vessel Governor Findlay, the British
brig Watkins, the naval sloop Raleigh and the Portuguese brig Santa Anna were all dismasted. Eleven
other vessels including British, Danish, Portuguese, Spanish, American were all
forced to cut away their masts or were driven ashore or foundered at anchor,
all with great loss of life and armament. The entire crew of a ship’s cutter,
returning to the East India Company ship Atlas
was lost at Urmston’s harbour. The body of one was recovered and taken to Macao
for burial, but nothing else was found but “a
few hats of the crew, and the stretchers of the boat” (Ride, 1955).
The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO)
holds a database of surveyed shipwrecks in Hong Kong, including those not shown
on Admiralty Charts. There are no
records of wrecks within the assessment area.
However, it should be noted that the Hydrographer’s main concern is with
navigation and only wrecks or material that may be an obstruction to navigation
are recorded. Survey work is also
targeted on the main shipping lanes.
While the data is useful, it is not a reliable index to the total
resource. Archaeological material could
be buried in shallow bays, such as Lung Kwu Chau not covered by their surveys.
In order to obtain accurate information
about the seabed and subsurface sediments of the assessment area, a marine
geophysical survey was carried out in February 2002 to assess the seabed and
sub-surface sediments for archaeological material.
The side scan sonar records collected
within the assessment area are characterised by the following features:
Isolated dumped materials
Clusters of dumped materials
Colluvial cobbles/boulders on the seabed
Seabed with numerous trawl marks
Interpretation of the side scan sonar
records indicated that there were no features with archaeological
potential. The seismic records were
examined in detail and there was no indication of buried objects within the
Identification and Evaluation of Potential Impacts
Any area of potential archaeological
interest immediately at and in the vicinity of the proposed jetty would
potentially be impacted by activities associated with the construction and
operation of the jetty.
Permanent land take (both land and
marine) may result in damage or loss of any archaeological remains and
deposits, and culturally significant features, and changes of the physical
coherence of historic landscape due to the following activities:
disturbance through excavation at or near an
archaeological site, and the passage of heavy machinery on exposed and buried
the burial of sites resulting in a limitation
on accessibility for future archaeological investigations (including surface
survey and remote sensing techniques) and obscuring visible surface evidence;
disturbance by machinery working on the present
Land Archaeological Impacts
Based on the layout plan (Figure 2.1),
the proposed jetty will be located on the east of the northern isthmus of the
Lung Kwu Chau Archaeological Site. It
is expected that construction works such as site clearance and excavation would
be undertaken for the jetty on the archaeological site, and would cause the
damage or loss of archaeological deposits, if present.
According to the desktop review and
archaeological survey, the result of the field survey in the works area at Lung
Kwu Chau indicates that the distribution of archaeological deposits on the
island is confined on the sandy tombolo and along the western beach in the
middle part of the island. Cultural
remains such as cord-marked pottery sherds can still be found along the western
beach. The works area of the proposed
construction, however, has no remains of human activities from the Neolithic
and historical times. Therefore, it is
concluded that the construction of the proposed jetty at Lung Kwu Chau will not
cause any adverse impact to cultural heritage within the boundary of the works
Marine Archaeological Impacts
The dredging of the approach channel
to a depth –2.5m CD will have a negative impact on the seabed and would result
in the destruction of any archaeological material, if present. Similarly, construction of the jetty will
cause significant seabed disturbance.
The side scan sonar data provided
clear evidence that the seabed within the assessment area has been extensively
trawled. This is indicated by the presence of a large number of deeply incised
trawl scars on the seabed. The trawling method of fishing is very common in
Hong Kong. Inspection of boats in any
of the main fishing ports such as Aberdeen and Cheung Chau reveals numerous
fishing boats fitted with trawling gear deploying otter boards. Otter boards are attached to the lower edge
of trawling nets, and serve to keep the net down and the net jaws apart. Otter boards penetrate the seabed by between
0.5m and 1m when in use. The trawling
activities may therefore have served to destroy or redistribute archaeological
material, if present, thereby reducing the archaeological potential of the
The baseline review indicated high
archaeological potential for shipwrecks in the assessment area. However, the geophysical survey did not
reveal any features with archaeological potential. The side scan sonar data indicated the presence of scattered
dumped material and extensive deeply incised trawl marks on the seabed. The
trawling activities may have served to destroy or redistribute archaeological
material, if present, thereby reducing the archaeological potential of the
assessment area. Since there are no
archaeological resources present within the seabed of the assessment area, it
follows that there are no related constraints on the proposed development.
Based on the findings of the
archaeological test pits and marine geophysical survey, there is no need for
any further archaeological investigation or mitigation measures.
The proposed jetty will be constructed
within the Lung Kwu Chau Archaeological Site.
A baseline study has been carried out to collect available information
through desktop review, archaeological test pits and marine geophysical
The desktop review and archaeological
survey indicate that the distribution of archaeological deposits on the island
is confined on the sandy tombolo and along the western beach in the middle part
of the island. The on-shore works area
of the proposed construction, however, has no archaeological remains and
deposits and hence, no adverse impact to land cultural heritage is expected.
The marine geophysical survey did not reveal
any features with archaeological potential.
Since there are no archaeological resources present within the seabed of
the assessment area, there are no related constraints associated with the
construction of the proposed jetty.
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