9.                            CULTURAL HERITAGE IMPACT ASSESSMENT


9.1                        Project Background


9.1.1                  The proposed works will be carried out in the southern Kam Tin Valley in the vicinity of Ho Pui and Ma On Kong (Figures 2.2a and 2.2b). The drainage improvement works carried out in the Study Area will involve the construction of secondary drainage channel KT13 and associated maintenance access facilities including re-provision of vehicular and pedestrian crossings, drainage and utility diversion works, associated road furniture and lighting facilities, landscaping and other ancillary works.


9.2                        Objectives of the Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment


9.2.1                  A Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (CHIA) must be undertaken in order to identify the impact that any proposed construction may have on the cultural heritage of the Study Area. The specific objectives include the following:


            Identification and recording of all known and as yet unidentified historical and culturally significant buildings and structures.

            Collection of information concerning other cultural heritage resources such as local village and industrial histories and cultural landscapes.

            Identification of areas of original landscape which will be affected by the proposed development and assessment of its archaeological potential by means of a program of field evaluation.

            Proposal of measures to preserve any heritage features as far as possible and to mitigate against adverse consequences wherever practicable.


9.3                        Outline of the Assessment Approach


9.3.1                  In order to achieve these objectives a program has been undertaken comprising 4 tasks:


                 Task 1   Baseline Data Collection


9.3.2                  This task involves the collection of data regarding the geology and geomorphology of the Study Area and its vicinity, including geological maps, bore hole data, early maps of the area and aerial photographs. The information derived from these sources is used to reconstruct historical land use patterns, as well as understand the physical nature of the ground surface and underlying deposits. This information is necessary for the calculation of the archaeological potential of all parts of the Study Area. This is determined through a combination of the above data, which is then collated with known patterns of land use and settlement in Hong Kong, where such information is available. This information is supplemented through sources, such as library research and interviews with local informants concerning the history.


                 Task 2   Historical Buildings and Structures Survey


9.3.3                  A systematic survey of the Study Area was performed in order to record all buildings and structures and parts thereof which were constructed before the year 1950 and/or otherwise qualify as having heritage value in accordance with Annex 10 and 19 of the TMEIAP. These cultural resources were recorded on detailed recording forms, for both their architectural features and cultural and historical associations. Photographs were taken and the resources located on 1:1000 maps. The Survey is described in further detail in Section 9.6.


                 Task 3   Archaeological Field Evaluation


9.3.4                  A program of field evaluation was designed and implemented to assess the archaeological potential of the Study Area. Testing was carried out in Areas identified as being original landforms and which were not covered in concrete or development. The methodology was agreed upon with the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) in advance of implementation and followed AMO guidelines. It is described further in Section 9.5.


                 Task 4   Assessment of Impacts on Cultural Heritage Resources


9.3.5                  Data collected from the previous tasks has been examined in the light of previous alterations to the original landscape and the predicted impacts of planned engineering works on the identified and potential heritage resources. The results of this assessment and resulting recommendations for mitigation are then presented below.


9.4                        Study Area


9.4.1                  The KT 13 Study Area comprises three sections. Figure 9.1 shows the location of the three sections, with respect to each other and the surrounding landscape.


            the southern section is situated west of the village of Ho Pui and south of Ma On Kong. The river here runs along the narrow valley bottom between steep hill slopes;

            the middle section connects the two sections.  The river runs between lower hill slopes and the alluvial plain with infilled ponds; and

            the northern section lies in the valley bottom between Ma On Kong and Tai Kek.

                 Geology and Topography


9.4.2                  The Study Area is located in the North West New Territories, an area dominated by large alluvial plains. The Kam Tin Valley is an example of such a broad alluvial plain with Late Pleistocene fluvial terraces near the foothills. Holocene alluvium is relative low-lying (10 m PD) and occupies the present stream courses and flood plains, ranging in depth from 1 to 5m of clayey silt and sand (Geotechnical Control Office 1989).


9.4.3                  The southern section of the Study Area is surrounded by ponds, some of which have been filled in, largely situated on Holocene alluvium. The northern section consists of Holocene alluvium on the east and Pleistocene alluvium on the west bank of the Kam Tin River. While the middle section partly impacts on infilled pond and partially on Late Pleistocene fluvial terraces.


                 Existing and Potential Impacts


Definition of the Study Areas


9.4.4                  The Study Area referred to in the assessment of potential impacts on archaeological resources comprises a strip of up to 25m on either side of the streambed. This reflects the area, which may be directly affected by the channelization project. The Study Area referred to in the assessment of impacts on historical buildings and structures is of necessity much broader as it includes indirect, aesthetic and visual impacts as well as direct impacts, as applicable.


Existing and Potential Impacts to Archaeological Resources


9.4.5                  Existing impacts within the archaeological Study Area include:


            current and abandoned cultivation;

            excavation of ponds and associated bunds;

            filling in of former ponds;

            construction of paths and roads linking villages and associated with recent development;

            dumping of garbage and waste deposits;

            fluvial action resulting in shifting of stream alignment and erosion of stream banks; and

            past dredging of stream beds and any artificial building up of banks.


9.4.6                  Potential impacts to archaeological resources in the Study Area include:


            cutting away of present banks as a result of realignment; and

            compaction, disturbance and removal resulting from construction related activities.


Existing and Potential Impacts on Built Heritage


9.4.7                  Existing impacts within the Study Area for the historical buildings and structures assessment include:


            traditional village construction and new building;

            current and abandoned cultivation;

            excavation of ponds and associated bunds;

            filling in of former ponds;

            construction of paths and roads linking villages and associated with recent development;

            dumping of garbage and waste deposits;

            construction of large pig farms; and

            large-scale disturbances resulting from the construction of West Rail and related projects.


9.4.8                  Potential impacts within this Study Area include:


            limited disturbance during the construction phase; and

            limited aesthetic impact after the construction is completed.


9.5                        Archaeological Field Evaluation


9.5.1                  In this section the background, methodology and findings of the archaeological component of the CHIA are presented. This will be followed by an assessment of any impacts that will result from the proposed engineering works on any archaeological resources in the Study Area, as well as recommendations for mitigation. A field evaluation is required to empirically test the predictions of archaeological potential based on material gathered and interpreted through desk-based research. The subsequent sections present information on previous archaeological investigations as well as known historical settlement patterns in the vicinity of the Study Area.


                 Potential for Prehistoric Archaeology in the Study Area


9.5.2                  Archaeological precedent exists for prehistoric sites in the inland areas of the New Territories. Most of these are located on lower hill slopes, and seem typically to date to the very end of the Late Neolithic period (2500 – 1500 BC) and the Bronze Age (1500 – 100 BC).


9.5.3                  Limited evidence exists of a late prehistoric presence in the vicinity of the Study Area. Sherds from one Late Bronze- Early Western Han vessel were retrieved from a trench to the west of Sek Kwu Tong. Here too the finds proved to be no longer in situ, however, the presence indicates some form of occupation at this period of the area (Museum of London Archaeological Service pers. comm).


9.5.4                  A trench excavated on a lower hill slope located to the east of the Study Area at the Tai Lam West Rail portal area, also revealed remains of a single Bronze Age vessel. Although the vessel was not found to be in situ, its presence indicates a Bronze Age presence in the area (Archaeological Assessments 1999).


                 Potential for Historical Archaeology in the Study Area


9.5.5                  The Study Area has been occupied by the Wu, Fan, Kan and Tsang families for up to 500 years. The villages in the area contain historical buildings built by the clans over the centuries, including temples, clan halls and domestic buildings. The rich alluvial plain of the valley has been farmed intensively until recent years. Further discussion of the landscape history of the area can be found in Section 9.6.3.


9.5.6                  The area of the Tai Lam Tunnel portal and the valley floor to the north has been cultivated for centuries. Recent archaeological field evaluation carried out to the north of the Study Area as part of the West Rail Archaeological Field Evaluation has highlighted the historical archaeological potential of the alluvial plains. Test trenches excavated north of Tai Kek (one trench), west of Tin Sam (3 trenches) and west of Sek Wu Tong (3 trenches) revealed material ranging from Late Tang to Qing Dynasty material. The deposits were found to be redeposited by alluvial action, but indicate the presence of mainly Song settlements in the area (Museum of London Archaeological Service, pers.comm).


9.5.7                  The presence of historical archaeology in the Kam Tin valley is further supported by findings from excavations undertaken at Lin Fa Tei, to the northeast of the Study Area, in advance of drainage channel works. Excavations revealed possible remains of a wooden bridge were found below a deposit of Song pottery (Hong Kong Institute of Archaeology 2000).


                 Archaeological Field Evaluation Methodology


9.5.8                  The archaeological assessment of the Study Area was divided into 3 sections, units 1, 2 and 3. Figure 9.2 shows the three units in relationship to nearby cultural heritage resources, i.e. historical villages and the Ho Pui archaeological site. Unit 1 actually falls within the Ho Pui Archaeological Site. Other archaeological finds have been described above but not mapped, due to unavailability of map references.


                 Unit 1       comprises the east-west aligned segment of the Kam Tin River to the west of Ho Pui


                 Unit 2       consists of the portion of the Kam Tin River running in a north-south direction to the east of Ma On Kong


                 Unit 3       represents the area which connects Units 1 and 2


9.5.9                  The same field methodology was applied to all units of the Study Area. This was formulated in accordance with Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) requirements as set out in the Criteria for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment and was agreed in advance with the AMO. This methodology included the following:


1.         Surface scanning for archaeological evidence wherever vegetation cover and landscape allowed. Special attention was paid to areas of exposed soil and any natural cuttings along the stream banks.


2.         Systematic auger testing was conducted to establish archaeological deposits and the natural and cultural stratigraphy of the Study Area, with the number and spacing of tests depending on the size of the section and the degree of disturbance. A total of 84 auger holes were carried out in the three sections.


3.         The excavation of 6 test pits was carried out. The number and locations of the test pits were based on preliminary findings from the auger survey.



                 Summary of the Findings of the Archaeological Field Evaluation


9.5.10              The findings of each task undertaken as part of the field evaluation program are presented here in summary form. Detailed results are presented in Appendices H and I1.


Summary of the Surface Field Scan


9.5.11              A field scan of the surface area and any cuts exposing the stratigraphy were examined for cultural soils or artifacts. A majority of the Study Area was covered in dense vegetation; however, a field scan was carried out wherever possible with particular attention paid to lightly vegetated, abandoned and in use agricultural areas and the cut stream banks. Figure 9.3 illustrates the areas where field scan was possible within Units 1 and 2. It should be noted that suitable areas directly bordering the Study Area were scanned when field scan was not tenable within its boundaries. No archaeological material was recovered during the field scan program. The lower hill slopes of Unit 3, just south of Ma On Kong, revealed that previously the area had been terraced.


9.5.12              The surface area around the ruin (KT13-02-01) located just south of Ma On Kong, contained the collapsed remains of house structures, the remains included blue and mud bricks, roof and floor tiles, wood and other household remains such as grinder stone. These finds were not collected but the extent on the scatter is shown on Figure 9.4.


Summary of the Auger Testing Program


9.5.13              Locations of the auger tests undertaken as part of the field survey have been marked on 1:1000 scale maps and can be found in Figures 9.5, 9.6 and 9.7.


                  Unit 1    (Figure 9.5)


9.5.14              A total of 27 auger holes were carried out along the banks of this section of the stream.


9.5.15              In the northeast portion of Unit 1 most of the area has been converted to ponds; the remainder is covered by buildings and is surfaced. Augering along the southern limit of the area revealed that the bank had been consolidated with fill in order to support a path.




9.5.16              The northwestern portion of Unit 1 comprises abandoned tomato fields at an elevation of 18-19 mPD. The stream cuts steep banks at this point revealing a stratigraphy of topsoil over alluvial clay deposits to a depth of more than 2 m. This same stratigraphy with little differentiation was found in all the auger tests in the area.


9.5.17              South of the stream the western portion of Unit 1 comprises refilled ponds. The eastern portion of the area contains cultivated and abandoned fields along the foot of the hills. Testing here revealed water table at or immediately below the surface of deep silt and clay alluvium deposits.


9.5.18              No archaeological evidence in the form of artefacts, ecofacts or possible cultural soils was found in Unit 1.


                 Unit 2     (Figure 9.6)


9.5.19              A total of 27 auger holes were carried out along the banks of this section of the stream.


9.5.20              The northwest portion of Unit 2, formerly a low and wet landscape, has been recently covered by a deep deposit of fill. Immediately to the south, the study area is occupied by a private orchard. This appears to also have been raised by a deposit of fill in the past.


9.5.21              The southwest area of Unit 2 is occupied by a nursery and abandoned open areas. Auger testing was carried out here along the edge of the stream bank where land modification seems to have been less than in adjacent areas. Testing revealed an alluvial silt and clay sequence increasing in coarseness and parent material content with depth.


9.5.22              The portion of Unit 2 to the east of the stream is occupied by nursery buildings, paved areas, paths and garbage dumps along much of the east bank. Testing along the bank here found silty clay alluvium to a depth of over 2 m. In the northeast portion of Unit 2 an area of overgrown fields was tested. The stratigraphy comprised similar silty clay alluvium with increasing coarse parent material content with depth.


9.5.23              No artefacts, ecofacts or cultural soils with archaeological potential were revealed by the auger testing in Unit 2.


Unit 3     (Figure 9.7)


9.5.24              A total of 30 auger hole tests were conducted on the lower hill slopes of Unit 3.


9.5.25              The majority of the tests conducted showed thin topsoil overlaying hill wash or colluvium, in some cases followed by in situ decomposing bedrock or rock.


9.5.26              The southern end of the Study Area however, indicated a fairly thin topsoil and hill wash overlay older topsoil and possibly an agricultural soil before reaching colluvium. Village ware sherd and a tile fragment (Plate 9.1) were recovered from the auger hole tests 14 and 15. The extent of the former agricultural area as indicated by the auger results is mapped on Figure 9.4.


9.5.27              The cultural soils were investigated in the test pit excavation 1, while the area around the ruins was investigated in test pit excavation 2.


Summary of the Test Pit Results


9.5.28             Four test pits measuring 1.5 X 2.0 meters and two test pits measuring 2 X 2 meters were positioned on the basis of the information gained from the auger survey for purposes of best sampling the accessible portions of the Study Area. The locations of the test pits in relationship to the auger hole tests are presented in Figures 9.5, 9.6 and 9.7. Full data from the test pit excavations is presented in Appendix H; the results of the test pit excavations are summarized here:


                 Test Pit 1 (Figure 9.5)


9.5.29             Test Pit 1 was situated in Unit 1, north of the stream in an abandoned field at ca. 18.6m PD. It measured 1.5 m x 1.5 m. and was excavated to 1 m depth. An auger hole was executed at 1 m. to a total depth of 214 cm.


9.5.30             The stratigraphic sequence included a thin layer of topsoil with roots; a layer of subsoil with cultivation evidence and modern sherds and plastic and a silt layer with 2 glazed modern sherds. Below this were 2 alluvial strata of clay of increasing coarseness and parent material content.


9.5.31             No archaeological material was recorded and no evidence found of cultural soils.


Test Pit 2 (Figure 9.5)


9.5.32             Test Pit 2 was situated in Unit 1, south of the stream in an abandoned field at ca. 14 m PD. It measured 1.5 m x 1.5 m and was excavated to 1 m. depth. An auger hole was carried out at this point to a total depth of 202 cm.


9.5.33             The stratigraphy of the test pit included a shallow layer of topsoil with organic material and sub soil with organic material and modern ceramic and tile fragments. Below this was a series of 7 alluvial strata: silt with modern villageware sherds, then gravel, clay layers and finally a deposit of gravel. Water table occurred at 74 cm.


9.5.34             No archaeological material or evidence was recorded.


                 Test Pit 3 (Figure 9.6)


9.5.35             Test Pit 3 was excavated in Unit 2, to the east of the stream, in an abandoned cultivated area. It lay at ca. 14 m. PD and measured 1.5 m x 1.5 m. It was excavated to a depth of 1m and then an auger hole was carried out to a total depth of 214 cm.


9.5.36             The stratigraphy of the test pit included topsoil with roots and a modern sherd; subsoil with modern material; followed by 2 deep strata of alluvial clay.


9.5.37             No archaeological materials of potential cultural soils were recorded.


                 Test Pit 4 (Figure 9.6)


9.5.38             Test Pit 4 was located on the western bank of the stream in Unit 2 in abandoned fields. It was situated at ca. 12 m. PD; measured 1.5 m x 1.5 m and was excavated to a depth of 110 cm. An auger test was then carried out to a depth of 136 cm. Water table was reached at 130 cm. The stratigraphy of the test pit included topsoil, subsoil with modern sherds, and then alluvial layers of silt with increasing clay content, ending in a clay stratum and water table. Modern sherds and tile fragments were found in all but the clay layer.


9.5.39             No archaeological evidence or cultural soils were encountered in this test pit.


                 Test Pit 5 (Figures 9.7 and 9.8; Plates 9.2 and 9.3)


9.5.40             The test pit excavation was located at the southern end of this section on the lower hill slopes. It measured 2 by 2m and was hand excavated to a depth of 1.21m. The test pit was abandoned due to water table. TBM (0.74m) was taken in front of the grave.


9.5.41             A total of six contexts were recorded. Context 1 consisted of brown very slightly clayey and very gravelly silt with some roots. The topsoil had a thickness between 0.04 and 0.09m.


9.5.42             Context 2 was a layer of hill wash, a yellowish brown very clayey, silty gravel which contained one modern tile fragment (Plate 9.2). The layer had a thickness between 0.10 and 0.20m.


9.5.43             Context 3 was old topsoil, which consisted of brown silty and gravelly clay. It had a thickness of approximately 0.10m and contained no finds. Context 4 and 5 represent the terrace cut and fill, both contexts are overlain by the context 3 top soil.


9.5.44             Context 4 was a brown silty and gravelly clay with some tile and village ware sherds (Plate 9.3) and Context 5 was a yellowish brown slightly silty, clayey gravel with a porcelain cup fragment and a tiny porcelain fragment (Pate 9.3).


9.5.45             And finally Context 6 was a dark yellowish brown motley gravelly clay, representing decomposing rock. This context was reached at a depth of approximately 0.60 to 0.80m.


9.5.46             Water table started seeping in at a depth of approximately 0.60m and the test pit hand excavation had to be abandoned at a depth of approximately 1.20 due to the water.


                 Test Pit 6 (Figure 9.7 and 9.9; Plates 9.4-9.8)


9.5.47             The test pit excavation was located at the northern end of this section on the lower hill slopes. It measured 2 by 2 m and was hand excavated to a depth of 1.30m. The hand excavation of the test pit was halted for safety reasons, an auger hole test was conducted to further verify the stratigraphy. TBM (1.71m) was taken from corner A, due to the thick vegetation no landmarks could be distinguished and used.


9.5.48             A total of five contexts were recorded. Context 1 was a brown slightly clayey and slightly sandy, gravelly silt with many roots. The findings from this topsoil included tile and grey brick fragments and sherds (Plate 9.4). A selection of tile was retained, a total of 105 red tile fragments and 17 grey tile fragments were recorded in context 1. The topsoil had a thickness between 0.07 and 0.16m.


9.5.49             Context 2 consisted of dark brown slightly gravelly, clayey and sandy silt with roots and angular cobbles. It had a thickness of approximately 0.40m and contained grey brick fragments as well as sherds and tile (Plate 9.5). A total of 25 grey tile fragments and 131 red tile fragments were recorded, a sample was retained.


9.5.50             Context 3 was interpreted as a fill layer, it consisted of yellowish brown very slightly silty clayey gravel. A concentration of pinkish tiles (Plate 9.6) was recorded in the northeastern corner of the test pit and was recorded in the section drawing. The layer had a thickness of approximately 0.40m.


9.5.51             Context 4 was the soil within a large vessel (Plate 9.7). This vessel appeared in context 2 and was situated within context 3, at a depth of 0.76m below the surface. Context 4 was a grayish brown very silty and clayey gravel which contained a single sherd (Plate 9.8).


9.5.52             And finally Context 5 was an olive yellow very clayey, silty gravel, which can be interpreted as colluvium. This layer was completely sterile and was encountered at a depth of approximately 0.90m. Context 5 continued in the auger hole test to a depth of approximately 2.60m below surface.


                 Assessment of Impacts and Recommendations for Mitigation


9.5.53             The archaeological field evaluation was designed to sample the limited portions of the Study Area which have not been altered by recent development. This evaluation in conjunction with desk-based study revealed the following (Table 9.1):


Table 9.1

 Summary of the Archaeological Findings in Each Unit



No Cultural Material

of Any Period

Modern Material and Debris Found

Material of Archaeological

Interest Found

Unit 1: Auger Tests







Unit 1:

Test Pit 1

Test Pit 2










Unit 2:

Auger Tests







Unit 2:

Test Pit 3

Test Pit 4










Unit 3:

Auger Tests







Unit 3:

Test Pit 5

Test Pit 6











9.5.54              In summary, no evidence of any prehistorical archaeological deposit was found within the Study Area. Testing along the banks of the streams in Units 1 and 2 revealed no cultural deposits or evidence of soils in which such deposits might be expected to occur. In Unit 3 material belonging to the Qing Dynasty was found, however, the scarcity of the material does not enable further speculation. The material appears in an agricultural context and does not represent an in situ deposit. As a result, no impact is expected on archaeology as a result of the proposed works and no mitigation measures are required.


9.6                        Historical Buildings and Structures Survey and Assessment


9.6.1                  The background, methodology and findings of the historical buildings and structures component of the CHIA will be presented in this section. The assessment of any direct and/ or indirect impacts to the recorded resources will also be presented, as will the recommendations for mitigation.


                 Potential for Cultural/Historical Resources in the Study Area


9.6.2                 The Study Area is located in the Kam Tin Valley, an area of Hong Kong with an extended and well documented history. The majority of villages in this area have been populated by the Tang clan from as early as the 11th century. The villages impacted by the proposed construction works are of more recent settlement, approximately 500 years ago for the oldest (Ma On Kong), whose original inhabitants arrived there from Wai Chau, Guang Dong (local informant).


Historical Land Use Patterns


9.6.3                 The villages are located on an alluvial plain at the foot of steep hill slopes located directly to their south and west. Today the flat areas surrounding the villages are for the most part unused. The only agricultural activities still ongoing are small individual garden plots and commercial pig rearing facilities to the south west of Ho Pui. There is also an organic farm, orchards and plant nurseries to the north of Ho Pui. The aerial photographs from 1949 and 1964 (Plates 9.9, 9.10 and 9.11) show all three villages in the Study Area surrounded by functioning agricultural fields. Terracing on the lower hill slopes is also visible in both photographs. The 1999 photograph (Plate 9.12) shows a very different situation. The majority of agricultural plots and ponds have been abandoned and the area surrounding the villages is much more wooded, this includes the hill slopes. A large number of pig sheds and squatter houses can also be seen to the south west of Ho Pui. The abandoned fields in this area still retain evidence of irrigation channels and sluice gates. It must be noted that the northern part of the valley in which the villages are situated has been heavily altered by construction activities that have destroyed any evidence of more widespread historical land use patterns.


                 Historical Buildings and Structures Survey Background


9.6.4                 A total of 59 cultural/heritage features were recorded during the field survey of the Study Area (56 during the 2000 survey and 3 during the 2002 survey), the majority being located in three villages listed below (Figure 9.10 to 9.14):


            Ho Pui

            Ma On Kong

            Tai Kek


9.6.5                 The recorded features included shrines, domestic structures, ancestral halls and a school. The villages were all easily accessible, and this allowed for relatively straightforward identification of the historical/ cultural resources. The field survey was undertaken to augment previous reports and to systematically record any additional heritage resources relevant to the impact assessment. All surveyed features are included in Appendix I2.


                 Historical Buildings and Structures Survey Methodology


9.6.6                 All of the villages contained historical and/or cultural features. These units were documented on historical building recording forms. Cultural and historical information for each of the villages was documented as part of the field survey. Detailed descriptions of the methodology are provided below. The location of all cultural/historical features is shown on a Master Plan (Figure 9.15).


                 Historical Buildings and Structures


9.6.7                 The resources were surveyed and assessed on an individual basis. The survey consisted of a field evaluation incorporating the collection of photographic, oral and written information, on the architecture and history of all structures to be impacted by the proposed development. This information was recorded on specially designed forms, (either a full ten page form, or in cases where the structure could be adequately described in less space, a one page summary form). These forms were designed to provide a complete documentation of all identifiable pre-1950 structures, as well as any more recent structures of cultural/ historical significance. Architectural features and structural modifications, as well as historical attributes, such as previous uses and past associations with local families or prominent personages are documented on the forms. The design of the forms is based on AMO and ICOMOS (International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites) standards for the recording of historical resources with modifications to suit architectural styles and situations encountered in Hong Kong. The recording forms also include general information about the structure, such as location, building type, usage and ownership. A synopsis of each structure is presented below and the locations of the historical / cultural resources highlighted on 1:1000 scale maps (Figures 9.10 through 9.14).

9.6.8                 The data gathered from the field survey for the individual heritage resources as well as the village units, along with the information from previous desk based research has been used to prepare assessments of the historical resources and formulate mitigation recommendations.


                 Cultural/Historical Features


9.6.9                 Cultural and historical information about each of the villages was also collected in the field to supplement that gathered from desk based research. This includes information such as settlement history, social background and economic features, and is presented in the synopsis and summary section below.


                 Synopses of Recorded Structures and Village Summaries


                 Ho Pui (Figure 9.10)


9.6.10             The village of Ho Pui was settled approximately 200 years ago. The people came from the nearby village of Ma On Kong. There were three main families, surnamed Wu, Kan and the Fan. There are ancestral halls to the Wu and Fan families in the village. The Kan family hall is located in Ma On Kong. Many of the residents of the village have immigrated, estimates being as high as 60% (Sze 1990). The villagers traditionally farmed vegetables and rice in the flat areas surrounding the village and on the hill slopes behind it (local informant).


                 KT13-00-01           Yuk Ying School, built 1951. Currently still being used as a school. In very good condition, relatively unmodified. Series of single storey buildings, painted pale yellow, with traditional style roof.


                 KT13-00-02           two terraced village houses, renovated 1955 and 1961, with dated plaques on parapets.. both two storey buildings.


                 KT13-00-03           Two green brick, terraced village houses. Double storey. Cut granite door frame on right hand structure and corner slabs on left hand unit traditional style roofs. Pre 1950 in date.


                 KT13-00-04           On Ding Sai Gai (安定世居) (Wu’s Ancestral Hall). Two halls with central courtyard. Structure is renovated, but built on traditional site.


                 KT13-00-05           Fan’s Ancestral Hall. Cut granite stone walls with traditional style roof with curling end roof ridge. Only structure in village with an orientation facing true north.

                 KT13-00-06           Four courtyard style village houses. All have been renovated (second storey added), left hand two have 1965 renovation date on parapet. Approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-07           Ruin, very dilapidated and overgrown state. Several standing large, cut granite slabs and portions of green brick walls, only intact elements. Approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-08           series of three attached sheds, built approximately 60 years ago according to local informant. Very little of original structures remain.


                 KT13-00-09          Group of attached houses and sheds. Approximately 60 years old according to local informant.


                 KT13-00-10           Ruin of pre 1950 animal pen. Mud brick walls, modern roof.


                 KT13-00-11           Terraced village house, 158 years old according to local informant. Double roofs (second one directly behind the other). The façade has a central entrance way and an attached pier on the left hand side.


                 KT13-00-12           Courtyard style house. Green brick walls with cut granite corner stones. Modern renovations to roof and walls. Approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-13          Courtyard style village house. Mixed colour bricks (brown, yellow, and blue). The doorway contains cut stone elements. Pre 1950 in date.


                 KT13-00-14           Terraced village house. Green brick walls with render on side portions. Cut stone elements in door frame. Portion of moulded capital at left hand upper corner of building.

                 KT13-00-15           Terraced village house with 3 course stone foundation at front. External alterations. Approximately 100 years in age.


                 KT13-00-16           Village house with modern renovation (1963 on parapet). Typical 1960’s style (large windows with painted metal grilles). Original structure approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-17           Two storey courtyard style village house. Small cut granite blocks as foundation (five courses). Cut granite door frame. Painted frieze across top of façade. Approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-18           Courtyard style village house. Cut granite block and green brick construction. Front (green brick portion) of house modified. Portions of frieze decoration (plain black) visible on left hand gable.


                 KT13-00-19           Ruins of a village structure. Probably a house. Granite corner post and some foundation stones still intact. Rest of the site is over grown. Remains indicate structures age at approximately 100 years.


                 KT13-00-20           Green brick courtyard style house. Stone foundation, seven courses at rear. Projecting piers with corner slabs incorporated. Some frieze decoration on front right side wall. Approximately 100 years in age.


                 KT13-00-21           Highly renovated courtyard style house. Rubble foundation visible in places and green brick walls in places. Original structure approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-22           Remains of courtyard style village house (front courtyard removed). Tile and concrete roof, rubble foundation. Structure is approximately 100 years in age.


                 KT13-00-23          Two terraced courtyard style village houses. Two storey. Frieze panel decorations on façade. Tile and concrete roofs with plan ridge. Approximately 100 years in age.


                 KT13-00-24           Two storey terraced house. Painted frieze panel under eaves on façade. Modern windows. Traditional style double panel wooden door. Three course stone foundation. Age approximately 100 years.


                 KT13-00-25           Two terraced village houses. Left hand structure has parapet and large window incorporated into second floor. Right hand structure has plain black frieze panel and moulding under eaves on façade. Walls are a combination of mud brick, coarse mud fabric, granite blocks and cement. Age of structures approximately 100 years.

                 KT13-00-26           Four terraced village houses, approximately 200 years old. Green brick walls with large granite corner slabs. Three left most structures all have 1960’s style parapets added on facades. Foundations have rubble elements. Continuous rear roof with Hakka style tiles on all but left most structure.


                 KT13-00-27           Highly renovated village terrace houses. Possible mud brick walls under cement. Original features are obscured by modern renovations. Age estimated as approximately 200 years by local informants.


                 KT13-00-28           Ruins of a row of courtyard houses (two or possibly three originally). Rubble foundations with green brick walls. Remains of painted frieze under right most structure’s façade eaves. Over 100 years in age.


                 KT13-00-29           Fung Shui wall. Concrete with stone slabs at base. Approximately 3 meters in length and 1.5 meters in height. Incense holder moulded into central section of wall.


                 KT13-00-30           Two village houses, green brick walls with roughly cut granite blocks up three quarters of the rear wall. Cut stone door frame. Attached piers (green brick with corner slabs on each end of façade). Over 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-31           Remains of a tree shrine (large banyan tree). In poor condition, but still in use with offering box and incense.


                 Tai Kek (Figure 9.11)


9.6.11              The name of this village was derived from the phrase ‘Tai Gip’ which described it was formerly densely wooded location. Today the woodland has been replaced by agricultural fields and construction sites. The village is small with only four examples of historical buildings, all of which are abandoned. The original settlers, who came from Cheung Po Tsuen and were surnamed Tsang, founded the village approximately 100 years ago. The villagers traditionally supported themselves through small scale rice and vegetable farming. This is the only village in the Study Area that shows a decrease in woodland in its immediate vicinity, as can be seen from the aerial photographs, Plates 9.9, 9.10, 9.11 and 9.12.


                 KT13-00-32           Ruins of a mud brick structure with cut stone corner slabs and door jambs, still in situ. Pre 1950 in date.


                 KT13-00-33           Green brick village house, detached. Three course cut granite foundation on façade. Attached piers (cut stone with green brick on either end of façade wall. Painted frieze panel under eaves of façade. Cut stone door frame and traditional style wooden main entrance door, the latter in poor condition. 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-34           Row of three terraced village houses. Right hand two are two storey structures. Green brick walls with three attached green brick piers along façade. Left hand structure, also of green brick construction is approximately 1 meter lower than the other two. And in very poor condition. Rear portions of all structures have been heavily modified. Approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-35           Dang Fu (躉符) shrine (ceramic bowl with inscribed split bamboo sticks and incense). Shrine set near cut stone blocks and facing nearby construction works.


                 KT13-00-36           Ruins of animal pens. Coarse mud fabric and mud brick walls. Original layout indiscernible. Pre 1950 in date.


                 KT13-00-37           Dang Fu shrine (ceramic bowl with inscribed split bamboo sticks and incense). Shrine set near cut stone blocks and facing nearby construction works.


                 Ma On Kong (Figures 9.12, 9.13 and 9.14)


9.6.12             Ma On Kong is the oldest settled village in the Study Area. This village was settled approximately 500 years ago by three Hakka family groups, surnamed, Wu, who came first, the Kan, who came second and finally the Fan, who were the last to settle in the village. The ownership of the village houses can still be divided into three separate geographical areas, based on family surname. The villagers traditionally supported themselves through rice and vegetable farming. The village contains several ancestral halls, used by the Ma On Kong residents as well as in the case of the Wu ancestral hall, members of that family who currently reside in Ho Pui. The Tin Hau temple (KT13-00-53), the earthgod shrine (KT13-00-54), the historical grave (KT13-00-55) and the shrine to the east of the village (KT13-00-56) are all associated with Ma On Kong.


                 KT13-00-38           Fan’s Ancestral Hall. Rebuilt in 1990. Divided into three sections. Front and rear with pitched roofs. Curling end roof ridges.


                 KT13-00-39           Courtyard style village house. Six courses of roughly fitted cut stone on façade. Cut stone main entranceway doorframe. Painted frieze panel across façade, under eaves. Pre 1950 in date.


                 KT13-00-40           On Ding Ka Tse (安定家祠) (Wu’s Ancestral Hall). Modern façade. Dang Fu shrine placed at front right hand side of façade. Double roof pattern. Front roof has ridge with geometric end decorations.


                 KT13-00-41           Kan’s Ancestral Hall. Green brick structure with three sections. Central building has three course cut stone foundation and roof ridge with geometric end decorations. Left hand structure has cut granite blocks on façade up to top of doorframe.


                 KT13-00-42           Two animal sheds. Rubble foundations with concrete over mud brick walls. Roof with Hakka style tiles.


                 KT13-00-43           Ruin, plan indiscernible, granite blocks, mud brick and green bricks all heavily overgrown.


                 KT13-00-44           Village house and animal shed in three sections. Granite block foundations with concrete covered walls. Pre 1950 in date.


                 KT13-00-45           Ruins of a mud brick structure, possibly a row of animal pens. Heavily overgrown.


                 KT13-00-46           Remains of a courtyard style house. Green brick and mud brick wall construction. Green brick, attached pillar at left hand corner of façade. Interior has collapsed. Approximately 100 years old.


                 KT13-00-47           Two collapsed courtyard terrace structures. Left hand structure has mud brick walls, right hand one has 10 courses of rough cut granite blocks on façade. Approximately 100 years in age.


                 KT13-00-48           Two courtyard style houses. Green brick walls with attached corner piers on facades. Left hand structure is approximately 1.5 meters lower than right hand one. Approximately 100 years old.

                 KT13-00-49           Two terraced green brick village houses. Painted frieze panel on façade (left hand structure). Both structures were rebuilt 20 years ago.


                 KT13-00-50           Storage building, modern construction on exterior, except for rubble foundation. Portions of structure pre-1950 in date.


                 KT13-00-51           Wu’s Ancestral Hall (with separate entrance) located behind (KT13-00- 38), Fan’s Ancestral Hall. Rebuilt in 1990. Two roof pattern, rear plain ridged and front with geometric end decorations.


                 KT13-00-52           One and a half storey village house, over 100 years old. Two entrance ways, with stone thresholds and doorsteps. Rammed earth with render.


                 KT13-00-53           Tin Hau temple located behind the village of Ho Pui, but associated with the village of Ma On Kong. Small building with concrete coated walls, painted red on the exterior. Tended, but not well kept.


                 KT13-00-54           Earth god shrine. Irregular shaped rock with concrete enclosure around it. Located to the left of the Tin Hau temple (KT13-00-53).


                 KT13-00-56           Shrine consisting of three parts, tree shrine with altar and incense holders, wooden gate with ceramic figurine and Dang Fu shrine. Located to the east of Ma On Kong.


                 KT13-02-01           Compound of three house ruins located to the south of Ma On Kong Village. The building materials are very varied and range between mud bricks, pounded earth and blue bricks (Figure 9.4).


                 Grave Sites


9.6.13             The Study Area is backed by steep hill slopes and almost all of the graves for the local villages are located there. Within the Study Area, no modern graves were identified. Three historical grave were identified, they were assigned an assessment number and recorded.


                 KT13-00-55           A historical grave associated with Ma On Kong village. Located in a heavily overgrown field (Figure 9.13).


                 KT13-02-02           A historical grave dating to the Qing Dynasty located south of Ma On Kong village (Figure 9.4).


                 KT13-02-03           A grave with a renovation date of 1954 located south of Ma On Kong village (Figure 9.4).


                 Other Features


9.6.14             The village of Ho Pui lies in the fork of two streams, facing across the valley and along the edge of the hill slopes. Three ancestral halls stand at the front of the village overlooking what was formerly a fung shui pond but is now a playground. Interestingly, one of the halls is the only building in the village to face north, while all other structures face north-north-west. Behind the central hall there is a fung shui wall. According to local informants the village has never had a fung shui wood associated with it.


9.6.15             Ma On Kong faces east-north-east with the stream crossing its visual corridor. According to local informants the village has no fung shui wood.


                 Historical Buildings and Structures Impact Assessment


9.6.16             All of the cultural/heritage resources discussed above will receive very minor indirect impacts from the proposed development in the form of negligible aesthetic changes to the existing landscape. The reason for this is that the drainage channel will lie below the land surface and will hence not be visible from the perspective of the recorded features. The nature and extent of impacts on the cultural heritage features identified in the three villages, as well as, the Tin Hau temple and earth god shrine (KT13-00-53 and 54), historical grave (KT13-00-55; KT13-02-02; KT13-02-03) and Tree Shrine (KT13-00-56) are presented in Table 9.2.


Table 9.2

Distance and Orientation of the Cultural Heritage Features to the Proposed Development, Existing Land Use in the Area and Future Land Use Plans




Approximate Minimum Distance to Development

Orientation of Village to the Development

Existing Land Use in Area

Proposed Future Development in Study Area

        Ho Pui Village

        35 meters from the village


        90 meters for the tree shrine (KT13-00-31)

        To the left



        Abandoned agricultural fields


        Squatter structures


        In use personal garden plots




        Drainage channel

        Ma On Kong Village

        35 meters


        Single lane road


        Paved sitting out area


        Unused land

        Drainage channel

        Ma On Kong Village ruins (KT13-02-01)

        20 meters

        To the right


        Drainage channel

        Tai Kek Village

        70 meters

        To the left

        Abandoned agricultural plots



        Drainage channel

        Historical Grave (KT13-00-55)

        90 meters



        Abandoned agricultural plots

        Drainage channel

        Historical Grave (KT13-02-02)

        14 meters




        Drainage channel

        Historical Grave (KT13-02-03)

        40 meters




        Drainage channel

        Tree shrine to the east of Ma On Kong (KT13-00-56)

        40 meters




        Drainage channel

        Tin Hau Temple and earth god shrine (KT13-00-53 and 54)

        40 meters


        Abandoned agricultural fields


        Squatter structures


        In use personal garden plots




        Drainage channel



9.6.17             None of the cultural heritage resources will be directly impacted by the construction or operation of the proposed drainage channels. The indirect impacts are mitigated against below.


                 Mitigation Recommendations for Indirectly Impacted Resources


9.6.18             All of the below mentioned resources will receive very minor indirect impacts from the stream channeling project, precaution will have to be taken to ensure the stability of the structure of the historical grave KT13-02-02. Visual impacts will be minimal due to the distances involved, the nature of the project and the nature of the intervening land. Vibration impacts will be minimal also due to the distance of the works as well as their non-invasive nature. Water table levels will not be affected by the project. Mitigation recommendations are presented in Table 9.3 on a village by village basis, except for the Tin Hau temple and earth god shrine (KT13-00-53 and 54), the tree shrine near Ho Pui (KT13-00-31), the historical grave (KT13-00-55; KT13-02-02; KT13-02-03) and the tree shrine to the east of Ma On Kong (KT13-00-56).


Table 9.3

Mitigation Recommendations for the Cultural Heritage Resources in the Study Area




Mitigation Recommendations

        Ho Pui Village

        The village lies to the left of the proposed works

        The historical buildings are separated from the stream by modern structures and open/ wooded areas

        The tree shrine (KT13-00-31) lies 90 meters away from the proposed works. There is no built aspect to the shrine.

        No mitigation recommendations are required during the construction or operational phases of the project for any of the recorded features in the village or for the tree shrine.

        Ma On Kong Village

        The village is separated from the affected area by a single lane road.

        The village lies approximately 30-35 meters from the development

        No mitigation recommendations are required during the construction or operational phases of the project

        Tai Kek Village

        The village is surrounded by major existing construction works

        The stream to be channeled lies approximately 70 meters from the village

        No mitigation recommendations are required during the construction or operational phases of the project.

        Historical Grave (KT13-00-55)


        The grave lies in a heavily overgrown field with structures and abandoned agricultural plots between it and the stream

        The grave lies approximately 90 meters from the stream

        No mitigation recommendations are required during the construction or operational phases of the project.

        Historical Grave (KT13-02-02)

        The grave lies in an area overgrown with vegetation

        The grave lies approximately 14 meters from the stream

        Measures will have to be taken to ensure the structural stability of the grave

        A condition survey will be required before and during the construction phase to ensure the structure remains intact.

        Historical Grave (KT13-02-03)

        The grave lies in an area overgrown with vegetation

        The grave lies approximately 40 meters from the stream

        No mitigation recommendations are required during the construction or operational phases of the project.

        Tree shrine east of Ma On Kong village (KT13-00-56)


        The shrine is situated in an area of shrubby undergrowth with an orchard between it and the stream

        The shrine is located approximately 40 meters from the stream

        No mitigation recommendations are required during the construction or operational phases of the project.

        Tin Hau temple and earth god shrine (KT13-00-53 and 54)

        The temple and shrine lie on a raised, overgrown patch of land directly off an unpaved single lane road

        There are a number of pig sheds located near to the temple and shrine

        The stream to be channeled lies approximately three meters below the level of the temple and shrine

        The temple and shrine are located 40 meters from the proposed development

        No mitigation recommendations are required during the construction or operational phases of the project.



9.7                       Monitoring and Audit Requirements


9.7.1                  A condition survey will be required for a historic grave near Ma On Kong (KT13-02-02) before and during construction phase, as the proposed bypass culvert is located at very close distance from this grave. The Contractor is required to employ qualified archaeologist to undertake the condition surveys. Details of the condition survey are presented in the Environmental Monitoring and Audit Manual.


9.8                       Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment Summary


9.8.1                 This report presents the results of the assessment of impacts, which will result from the planned drainage improvement project in the area of the southern Kam Tin valley on potential archaeological deposits and on historical buildings, structures and other heritage features in the Study Area.


9.8.2                 The assessment of impacts can be summarized as follows:


                     No evidence was found of archaeological deposits, in situ or otherwise, in the areas sampled. The areas along the stream course have been modified by heavy and long-term cultivation and recent landscape modification. The only cultural material recorded was historical/modern; as a result the Study Area is considered to have recent archaeological potential and no mitigation is required in advance of works.


                     The majority of the recorded cultural heritage features lie between 35 and 90 meters from the works area. The visual and vibration impacts will be negligible, due to distance and nature of the works. No water table level changes will result from the project during the construction or operational phases. Based on the above factors, no mitigation measures will be required. The exception will be the historical grave KT13-02-02, which will require mitigation in the form of structural support to ensure its stability and a condition survey before and during the construction phase will be required.




AMO files and records.


Archaeological Assessments 1999. Report on West Rail Archaeological Field Evaluation: Tai Lam Tunnel Portal Area. Unpublished report.


Geotechnical Control Office 1989. Geology of the Western New Territories. Hong Kong: Government of Hong Kong.


Hong Kong Institute of Archaeology 2000. Assessment of Cultural Heritage Impact – the 1999 archaeological survey at Area 07 Main Drainage Channels for Yuen Long and Kam Tin, Remainder Phase 3. Unpublished report.