7.1       Introduction


The Study Brief specifically requires an assessment of cultural heritage impacts arising from the project.  This section presents the results of the assessment of potential impacts on cultural heritage resources as a result of construction and operational activities based on the circuit alignment shown in the Study Brief No. ESB-057-200.  Mitigation measures required to ameliorate the potential impacts to acceptable levels have been recommended, where appropriate. 


7.2       Environmental Legislation, Policies, Standards and Criteria


The following legislation is applicable to the assessment of archaeological and cultural heritage resources in Hong Kong:


(i)                  Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap. 499 S16) Technical Memorandum on the Environmental Impact Assessment Process, Annexes 10 and 19 (EIA-TM);


(ii)                Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance (Cap. 53); and


(iii)       Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG).


7.3       Assessment Methodology


7.3.1     Desktop Study


A desktop search was undertaken to compile a comprehensive inventory of the heritage resources within the project area. The search included the review of archive information held by the Antiquities and Monuments Office, public libraries, tertiary institutions and other government departments.  The full bibliography is presented in the end of this section.


7.3.2     Field investigation


Field surveys hasve been undertaken to assemble necessary data where the above sources of information were inadequate.  An archaeological investigation to check for any archaeological remains at the areas as specified in the Study Brief was undertaken by a qualified archaeologist.  The methodology for the field investigation was agreed with Antiquities and Monument Office (AMO).


7.3.3     Impact Assessment


Preservation in totality is taken as the first priority and the assessment has taken into account the requirement as specified in the Study Brief, Clause 3.11 and Section 2.1 of Annex 10 and Sections 2.6 to 2.14 of Annex 19 of the EIA-TM.


7.4       Baseline Conditions


The cultural heritage resources within the study area of the Project have been identified and they are presented below:


7.4.1     Historical Buildings and Features


No declared/deemed monuments or graded buildings have been identified.  However, a number of listed historical buildings and features were identified, and one new site, considered to be of historical note, the Wing On Bridge and its associated earth god shrine, was also identified during the survey.  All the buildings and features are located in Pui O. The location of these sites is shown in Figure 7.1 and the detail is provided in Table 7-1 below:


Table 7-11       Historical Building and Features at Pui O




Closest Distance from the circuit alignment Section 1

Pui O Lo Wai Tsuen*

17 sites are listed by AMO[1]

44 m

Ham Tin San Tsuen*

1 site is listed by AMO[2]

56 m

Ham Tin Kau Tsuen*

11 sites are listed by AMO[3].

103 m

Pui O Tin Hau Temple

listed by AMO[4].  It is a two-hall type temple with a covered courtyard.  Built over 200 years ago although a number of renovation have been undertaken in 1799, 1974 and 1995.  Two fung shui trees are located to the left and right of the temple as shown in Figure 7.2 and an earth god shrine is identified at the fung shui tree to the right of the temple.

10 m from temple but 4 m from the platform in front of the temple

Wing On Bridge and its associated earth god shrine

A granite block bridge in the 19th century to 20th century.  A concrete shrine is located to the western end of the bridge which is inscribed as “Wing On Bridge God shrine” (see Figures 7.1 and 7.3 for location and the photographic record of the site).

19 m

*     The buildings are mainly village houses, some of them are ancestral halls or places of worship; these buildings range from 50 to over 100 years old.


7.4.2     Archaeological Resources


Two archaeological sites, Tai Long Wan and Pui O archaeological sites, are listed by the AMO within the study area of the Project (Figure 7.4 for location).  The sites are as follows:


·          Tai Long Wan site was first discovered in the 1930s and defined by W. Schofield as an archaeological site in 1940.  Excavation results were reported by L. Berry and S.M. Bard in 1956, at that time leader of the Archaeological Team of Hong Kong University.  The team collected 13 stone adzes on the east hillslope of the site.  During 1967 - 1982, the Hong Kong Archaeological Society excavated 30 grids at the raised beach and on the eastern hillslope.  The Society identified a black coloured layer in the raised beach which was dated to the Bronze Age.  In 1982-83, B.A.V. Peacock and T.J.P. Nixon undertook further investigation at the site and identified late Neolithic and Bronze Age artifacts during surface collection and discovered lime kiln features during test pit excavation.


·          The Pui O site was first discovered by the Archaeology Team of the Hong Kong University in 1957 when debris from lime kilns were found.  The site was then excavated by the Hong Kong Archaeological Society in October 1983.  Lime kiln structures, a slaking structure, two sets of Tang dynasty pottery shards and three Qing dynasty (mid to late 19th century) burials were discovered.  B.A.V. Peacock and T.J.P. Nixon visited Pui O site five times during 1982-83 and prehistoric coarseware shards at a south hillslope of Chi Ma Wan Road in Ham Tin were collected.  In 1997, the Territory Wide Archaeological Survey for South Lantau undertaken by Dr. P. L. Dreweet of London University sank eight auger holes at the sandbar of the Pui O archaeological site, but only one pottery shard (date of the pottery was not provided) was identified.


7.4.3     Archaeological Investigation Result


The Study Brief specifically requires an archaeological investigation to check for any archaeological remains in the follow areas:


·          along the proposed alignment of the cable trench section located within Pui O archaeological site; and

·          the proposed reclamation temporary working platform site at Pui O Wan for a works area for the cable portal.


Prior to the commencement of the required survey, the scope of work and methodology for the investigation was agreed with AMO. 


Field Walking

The whole proposed cable alignment was field walked including areas at Pui O, Ham Tin and Tai Long Wan.  As nothing of interest was identified at section 2-5 from the landform, superficial geology investigation and field walking result, the proposed cable alignment section 2-5 is considered to have no archaeological potential from sections 2-5.  However, archaeological interest was identified in section 1:


Having field walked section 1, two areas are identified of archaeological interest at two inner raised beach and Ham Tin valley and further intensive surface collection was undertaken at the inner raised beach of Pui O and Ham Tin valley.  Fly tipping at the north section of the inner raised beach at Pui O hampered the field walking.  In addition, the area has been developed to provide infrastructure and facilities including a school, playground, electricity cables and the Chi Ma Wan Road.  As a result of this extensive disturbance, no artifacts are identified. 


Quartz flakes, net pattern, double F pattern and cord pattern pottery shards were found on the northern hillslope at Chi Ma Wan Road in Ham Tin (Figure 7.5).  These artifacts could date back to Late Neolithic to Bronze Age (ca. 5000 BC to 1500 BC).  The deposit area is defined as Site C in Figure 7.6.




On the basis of the fieldwalking result, 25 auger holes were bored at three areas of archaeological potential (Figure 7.6 for location):


·          a raised beach area at Bui O Public School (Site A);

·          the inner raised beach at Pui O (Site B); and

·          the south of the Ham Tin valley.


A summary of the augering results isare presented below.  Four representative auger holes were selected to present the vertical sequence at the three areas and they are detailed in Appendix H.


An ancient cultural layer may exist at Sites A and B.  However, no artifacts were identified during the augering. 


The south of the Ham Tin valley shows no archaeological potential except the area where late Neolithic to Bronze Age artifacts were identified in surface collection.


Test Pit excavation


Two test pits were excavated:


·          Test Pit (TP)1 at Pui O inner raised beach (Site B), measuring 3 m x 2.5 m in size; and

·          Test Pit (TP)2 at Ham Tin valley, measuring 1 m x 1.5 m in size.


A summary of the excavation results is presented below and detailed in Appendix H.


·          TP 1: The datable material from TP1 is a brass button discovered in C4 (Context 4). This kind of button belongs to the Qing dynasty style for both male and female clothing.  However, this style of button was common until the 1920s.  The button probably came from burial clothing.  Oral information provided by a local villager at Lantau indicated that inner raised beach or coastal areas were used as public cemeteries on Lantau before the 1950s and these areas were used as burial sites during World War II for children, unmarried people or people killed in accidents.  Four Qing dynasty burials with associated coins were identified at the eastern end of a test pit, Grid E, during previous archaeological excavations.  Therefore, this inner raised beach area is believed to have been used as a burial site from the late 17th century until the end of World War II.


The soil profile of TP1 is similar to the test pits excavated in 1983.  C5 of TP1 is a layer of dark brown fine sand.  This layer contains large amount of pumice (or pumice-like materials) at a highest elevation of 4.2 to 4.6 mPD.  This pumice or pumice-like materials is probably a slag of lime from lime kilns identified during previous excavation. Such a layer was also identified in six test pits out of seven during previous excavations in 1983, dated to the Tang dynasty (618-907) (Meacham 1984, Yim 1984).   However, only a small quantity of the pumice were identified in C5 of TP1.


·          TP2: Although roof tiles, broken grey bricks, blue-and-white porcelain bowl rim shards and village ware shards were identified in C2, C4 and C6 in TP2, they appear to be fill materials.  This conclusion is supported by oral information provided by a villager living near the Pui O Tin Hau Temple.  The Pui O Tin Hau Temple near TP2 had been abandoned during the 1970s and rebuilt in 1980s.  During previous renovation, the broken brick and porcelain was dumped at the lower level area along the Chi Ma Wan Road.  Therefore, it is likely that the artifacts identified in TP2 came from Pui O Tin Hau Temple.  The original ground level before the fill should be at around 4.23 mPD. Therefore, although the artifacts identified may date back to over 100 years, since they were redeposited as fill in the TP2 area, and they are regarded as secondary deposit, and therefore, their archaeological significance is very low.




Having field walked, augered and excavated within the survey area, three areas were identified to have archaeological potential:


1)       Site A: Although no artifacts were identified at Site A, the soil profile at Bui O Public School area prove that it is a raised beach with a ground level between 6.58 to 6.80 mPD, and a layer of brown fine sand mixed with small pieces of pumice (or pumice-like materials) was identified in AH09 at 1.2 m below existing ground level.  This layer is similar to the Tang dynasty layer Site B.  Therefore, although land ownership prevented trial pit excavations in this area, this site is considered of archaeological potential. (refer to Appendix H for the augering result of AH09).


2)       Site B: Pui O inner raised beach is part of the well known Pui O archaeological site since 1957 when Tang dynasty lime kiln features were identified.  The inner raised beach is believed to be the core archaeological deposit area and the existing ground level of this raised beach ranges from 6.2 to 6.9 mPD.  According to the investigation results from six augering holes and one 3 x 2.5 test pit, the highest level of the Tang dynasty cultural layer is probably between 4.38 to 4.9 mPD and the lowest level of the layer is approximate 3.82  to 4.6 mPD. (Figure 7.6)


3)       Ham Tin Valley: No archaeological potential is expected for the proposed circuit alignment along Chi Ma Wan Road at Ham Tin.  However, the northern hillslope of the Ham Tin valley is of archaeological potential where Bronze Age pottery shards and man-made quartz flakes were collected.  The Bronze age site boundary is shown in Figure 7.6. 


For the remaining sections 2 to 5 of the proposed circuit alignment, no archaeological potential is expected.


7.5       Impact Assessment


7.5.1     Potential Sources of Impact


Potential impacts on the identified cultural heritage resources within the Study Area may arise from the following:


·          Landtake for both temporary and permanent facilities which may result in damage to, or loss of, archaeological remains and deposits;

·          Construction works may result in damage to or loss of buried archaeological sites by disturbance through excavation at or near an archaeological site, topsoil stripping and the passage of heavy machinery on exposed and buried deposits; and

·          Indirect impacts such as visual and noise intrusion on the setting and amenity of historic and cultural resources.  These are addressed in other sections of this report.


7.5.2     Evaluation of Impact


No known culture heritage resources will be directly impacted by the proposed circuit alignment sections 2 to 5 as described in the Study Brief, Clause 1.2 (ie from Pui O Beach to Cheung Chau North Substation). 


Although the Tai Long Wan archaeological site is located close to the circuit alignment, the circuit alignment is located outside the site boundary where no archaeological potential is expected, therefore, no impact is expected.


Section 1 (the underground cable section from Pui O Station to Pui O Beach) may impact cultural heritage resources as follows:


Although none of the identified historical buildings and features are to be directly impacted by circuit alignment section 1.  Potential indirect air, noise and visual impacts may arise from the construction work.  However, the historical buildings at Pui O Lo Wai Tsuen, Ham Tin San Tsuen and Ham Tin Kau Tsuen are not the closest buildings to the circuit alignment.  They are not defined as air, noise and visual impact sensitive receivers.  Therefore, the indirect impact is considered not significant provided that reference is made to the relevant air, noise and visual impact assessments for this study.


Wing On Bridge is located 19 m from the circuit alignment, at the opposite shore of a stream next to Chi Ma Wan Road to the east of Ham Tin San Tsuen, and thus no impact is expected.


Since the circuit alignment is located at the Chi Ma Wan Road, 4 m from the platform in front of Pui O Tin Hau Temple and the scale of construction work is considered small, no direct impact is expected.


There is no archaeological potential along the circuit alignment at Ham Tin, therefore, no impact is expected.


Potential direct impact on the potential archaeological deposit at Bui O Public School area (Site A) may arise due to the construction of the underground circuit alignment.  However, since the circuit alignment follows the existing road alignment where previous development is expected to have destroyed any archaeological deposit, if any, to an unknown level and no artifacts were identified in this area, the potential impact is considered low.  Thus, in view of the small scale of construction work involved, and the existing condition of the archaeological deposit, the impact is considered minimal and acceptable provided that the mitigation measures as described in Section 7.6 is implemented. 


The archaeological deposit at Pui O inner raised beach (Site B) could also be affected by the construction works.  Although a layer associated with Qing dynasty to early and mid 20th century burial has been identified, previous development such as the construction the playground and other infrastructure including Chi Ma Wan Road and electricity cables have disturbed and destroyed this layer to an unknown level.  The significance of preservation in situ of this layer is not relevant and the impact on this layer is considered acceptable.  With regard to the Tang dynasty layer, the underground trench to be dug to lay the circuit is about 1 to 1.7 m in depth, therefore, the construction work may or may not reach the Tang dynasty layer.  The impact is considered avoidable provided that mitigation measure recommended in Section 7.6 is implemented.


7.6       Recommended Mitigation Measures


The indirect air and noise impact on Pui O Tin Hau Temple will require consultation with villagers to identify peak visiting periods to the temple, such as festival days, to avoid construction works to be undertaken at those times.  The relevant air and noise assessment at the Tin Hau Temple area is presented in relevant sections of this report.


In order to avoid reaching the core area of the sandbar at BPui O Public School area (Site A), it is recommended to keep the circuit alignment as east as possible at the margin of the sandbar near the junction between South Lantau Road and Chi Ma Wan Road to minimise the direct impact.  It is also recommended that the trench to be dug out to lay the cable should follow the existing road and does not penetrate into the ‘no-dig’ zone as defined by AMO to avoid reaching the original ground surface which may contain the cultural remains from the lime kilns.


With regard to the direct impact on the inner raised beach at Pui O (Site B), it two options of recommendation is provided:


(1) Re-align this section of the alignment to the north, outside the Site B.  This is the preferred option according to the EIA-TM.  If it is not practical, Option 2 is recommended.

(2) Preservation in situ of the Tang dynasty layer is recommended thatand therefore the detail design of the underground cable construction should not allow any disturbance of the Tang dynasty layer (4.38 - 4.9 mPD), which is 1.5 m from existing ground level (6.2 - 6.9 mPD) within this section.


The future levels of the proposed Chi Ma Wan Road widening implemented by Highways department need to be carefully designed to allow for the minimum 1000 mm cover for the cables, which shall be laid above the Tang dynasty layer or the `no dig’ zone as defined by AMO.  If the cover requirement cannot be achieved, approval from Highway Department should be sought in advance for allowing the cables to be laid in a shallow depth with additional protection such as concrete surround to protect the cables.


7.7       Environmental Monitoring & Audit


The recommended mitigation measure of avoiding the cultural layer in sites A and B is expected to prevent damage to the existing archaeological deposits.  However, as a precautionary measure arising from the possibility that the level of the cultural layer may vary from point-to-point it is recommended that archaeological monitoring is undertaken in the sections within the Pui O Archaeological Site during construction to preserve the archaeological deposit, if any, by record and take environmental samples for future study if necessary.  The construction contractor should cooperate with a qualified archaeologist appointed to undertake the monitoring to allow sufficient time for recording archaeological deposit and take environmental samples if necessary. 


7.8       Conclusions   


Literature reviews of existing information supplemented with the results of field surveys on cultural heritage resources indicate that 31 historical buildings and features and two known archaeological sites are located within the Study Area.  The proposed development has tried to avoid the heritage sites as far as possible but concerns have been raised regarding the potential impact on some of the identified sites.


Mitigation measures have been recommended to avoid impacts to cultural heritage resources; control of the construction work schedule during peak visiting hour at Pui O Tin Hau Temple; detail design of the underground cable construction to avoid and minimise the potential impact to the archaeological deposit at Bui O Public School (Site A) and inner raised beach at Pui O (Site B).  The future road level of the proposed Chi Ma Wan Road widening shall be raised to allow adequate cover requirement for the cables which shall be laid above the concerned zone. If the avoidance of reaching the `no dig’ zone below existing ground level at Pui O Archaeological Site both Site A and Site B is not possible, archaeological monitoring should be undertaken in this section during construction to preserve the archaeological deposit, if any, by record and take environmental samples for future study if necessary.  The level of `no dig’ zone shall be agreed with AMO during the detailed design stage of the cable laying works. The construction contractor should cooperate with a qualified archaeologist appointed to undertake the monitoring to allow sufficient time for recording archaeological deposit and take environmental samples if necessary.







Antiquities and Monuments Office, Archive Research File No. 780203, Pui O Archaeological Site (unpublished)


Guofei 1573-1620  Yue Da Ji vol. 32 (in Chinese) 


Meacham, W. 1984 Pui O , Journal of the Hong Kong Archaeological Society, vol.X. Hong Kong Archaeological Society, Hong Kong.p60-69


Langford, R.L. and others 1995  Geology of Lantau District, Hong Kong Geotechnical Engineering office.


Peacock, B.A.V. and T.J.P. Nixion 1988  The Hong Kong Archaeological Survey: Subsurface Investigation Reports, Antiquities and Monuments Office, Hong Kong SAR.


Peacock, B.A.V. and T.J.P. Nixion 1986 Report on Hong Kong Archaeological Survey, Antiquities and Monuments Office, Hong Kong SAR.


Siu, Kwok-kin, 1994 The Society and History of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Educational Publish Co. (in Chinese)


Yim, W.W.S. 1984 Pumice-like Material at Pui O, Journal of the Hong Kong Archaeological Society, vol.X. Hong Kong Archaeological Society, Hong Kong.p72-75




[1] Archive File Reference No. areT0337-52, T0369, AMO

[2] Archive File Reference No. areT0353, AMO

[3] Archive File Reference No. areT0354-64, AMO

[4] Archive File Reference No. areT0365, AMO