12.1      Introduction 

12.2      Legislation and Standards 

12.3      Scope and Study Area 

12.4      Terrestrial Archaeology 

12.5      Built Heritage 

12.6      Marine Archaeology 

12.7      Conclusions 

12.8      References 




Appendix 12A       Guidelines for Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment

Appendix 12B       Guidelines for Marine Archaeological Investigation (MAI)

Appendix 12C       Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance, Technical Memorandum – Annexes 10 and 19

Appendix 12D       Archaeological Survey Report at Sha Lo Wan (West) Southern Headland (march 2007)

Appendix 12E       Images

Appendix 12F       Relevant Marine Geophysical charts

Appendix 12G       Seabed anomalies of possible cultural significance



Figure 12.1           Layout and Study Area of HKLR

Figure 12.2           Locations of Archaeological Sites, Built Heritage and Declared Monuments in the vicinity of HKLR

Figure 12.3           Locations of Test Pits and Augur Holes Excavated at Sha Lo Wan Archaeological Site





12.1                    Introduction

12.1.1               Clause 3.4.8 of the EIA Study Brief (ref ESB-110/2003) for HKLR (previously called the Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macao Bridge Hong Kong Section and North Lantau Highways Connection) requires a Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (CHIA) to be conducted.  This should include terrestrial and marine archaeological investigation as well as built heritage investigation to evaluate the impacts on known or potential cultural heritage.   The guideline of CHIA is appended in Appendix 12A.

12.1.2               The CHIA includes a Marine Archaeological Investigation (MAI). The MAI guidelines set by the Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO) are the standard procedures within Hong Kong for assessing and identifying submerged cultural heritage (see Appendix 12B).


12.2                    Legislation and Standards

12.2.1               The assessment and protection of cultural heritage within HKSAR is governed by the following legislative standards and guidelines:-

·               Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (Cap 499);

·               Antiquities and Monument Ordinance (Cap 53); and

·               Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines.

12.2.2               Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance         The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance (EIAO) stipulates that consideration shall be given to cultural heritage and archaeological issues as part of the EIAO process. Annexes 10 and 19 of the TM-EIAO (see Appendix 12C) cite the following:-

·               criteria for evaluating the impacts on sites of cultural heritage;

·               guidelines for impact assessment;

·               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; and

·               adverse impacts on sites of cultural heritage shall be kept to the absolute minimum.         The Guidance Note on Assessment of Impact on Site of Cultural Heritage in Environmental Impact Assessment Studies ( serves as a reference to facilitate an understanding of the requirements set out in Annex 10 and Annex 19 of the TM-EIAO for assessing impacts on sites of cultural heritage in EIA studies.

12.2.3               Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance         The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance was enacted in 1976.  It prescribes the regulation over the discovery, excavation and protection of antiquities in HKSAR.         Under this Ordinance, the Secretary for Development is the Antiquities Authority.  The statutory Antiquities Advisory Board (AAB) consists of members with expertise in various relevant fields to advise the Antiquities Authority on any matters relating to antiquities and monuments. The Antiquities and Monuments Office (AMO), as the executive arm of the Antiquities Authority, provides secretarial and executive support to the AAB in conserving places of historical and archaeological interest.         The Antiquities Authority may, after consulting AAB and with the approval of the Chief Executive as well as the publication of the notice in government gazette, legally declare a place to be protected. The Antiquities Authority is empowered to prevent alterations, or to impose conditions upon any proposed alterations as appropriate to protect the monument.         In addition to declared monuments, a large number and variety of sites of cultural heritage are identified and recorded by AMO. Recorded historic buildings and structures are graded as Grades I, II or III by the AAB to indicate their relative importance, as defined below:-


Grade I

Buildings of outstanding merit, which every effort should be made to preserve if possible.

Grade II

Buildings of special merit, efforts should be made to selectively preserve.

Grade III

Buildings of some merit, preservation in some form would be desirable and alternative means could be considered if preservation is not practicable.         Guidelines on the approach, methodologies and criteria to be used in conducting a CHIA are included under Annex 10 and 19 of the EIAO TM, and the assessment criteria are explained in the Guidance Note on Assessment of Impact on Site of Cultural Heritage in EIA Studies.  The criteria in EIAO-TM Annex 10 for evaluating impacts to sites of cultural heritage include:

·               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; and

·               Adverse impacts on sites of cultural heritage shall be kept to an absolute minimum.         Although graded buildings and structures, and deemed monuments carry no statutory protection, the Government has administrative procedures that require conservation be given to those historic buildings and sites of cultural heritage.         For archaeological sites, relics (defined under the Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance as fossils and objects/artefacts created, modified, etc. by human agency before 1800 AD) discovered after 1976 are, by law, properties of the government.  All discoveries of antiquities or supposed antiquities must also be reported.         Archaeological sites are administratively classified into two categories, namely:-

            Declared Monument – those that have been gazetted in accordance with Cap. 53 by the Antiquities Authority; and

            Recorded Archaeological Sites – those which have not been declared but recorded by the AMO under administrative protection.

12.2.4               Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines         Chapter 10 of the HKPSG provides guidelines relating to the conservation of historic buildings, archaeological sites and other antiquities. The guidelines detail the methods for the conservation and preservation of protected monuments, the method of identifying and recording antiquities, particularly buildings which should be conserved and the recording and grading of such buildings and archaeological sites.


12.3                    Scope and Study Area

12.3.1               General         As stipulated in Section 3.4.8 of the EIA Study Brief (ESB-110/2003), the CHIA will follow the criteria and guidelines as stated in Annexes 10 and 19 of the TM-EIAO. The key stages for CHIA include the following:-

·               Baseline study (including both desktop study and field survey);

·               Impact evaluation; and

·               Recommendation of mitigation measures.

12.3.2               Alignment         Section 3 has provided a detailed description of the preferred alignment of HKLR from the HZMB Main Section at HKSAR boundary to Sha Lo Wan, along Airport Channel and eventually connecting to the HKBCF.         Most of the sections would be in the form of a viaduct except at 2 sections, including a 1.1km long short tunnel underneath Scenic Hill and a 1.5km long at-grade road along the east coast of CLK Island         There would be some reclamation of about 23ha along the eastern coast of CLK Island to reclaim minimum land required for the Scenic Hill tunnel portal and the associated at-grade road Figure 12.1.

12.3.3               Study Area         According to the EIA Study Brief, the study area for field survey and impact evaluation includes the area of potential impact that would be caused by the preferred HKLR alignment.  The alignment and the study area are shown in Figure 12.1 and are summarised below:

Terrestrial archaeology

A 50m buffer distance on both sides of the proposed alignment.

Built heritage

A 300m buffer distance on both sides of the proposed alignment.

Marine archaeology

A 100m buffer distance on both sides of the proposed alignment.


12.4                    Terrestrial Archaeology

12.4.1               Desk-top Research         The baseline study will include any areas impacted by the project as well as direct and indirect impact of ancillary works areas, access sites etc. The desktop study of known cultural heritage resources within the study area is given below.         AMO maintains a list of archaeological sites which is updated from time to time. This list can be consulted at the AMO.  However, the list is not meant to be exhaustive, nor is the information contained therein comprehensive.         Other useful sources of relevant information include the tertiary institutions (e.g. the Hong Kong Collection at the University of Hong Kong Library, Departments of History and Architecture at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong), public libraries and archives (e.g. Public Records Office), District Offices, District Lands Offices and Land Registries, etc.         There are 3 main archaeological surveys (see the first 3 items in Table 12-1) conducted in the study area of the Hong Kong Link Road between 1982 and 1998, including:-

·               those by Peacock and Nixon in 1982  - 1985;

·               Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1991; and

·               the Guangzhou Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in 1997-1998.         These archaeological surveys present data from successive archaeological surveys across the North Lantau region. These surveys summarise the location and extent of archaeological remains and for the most part provide a cumulative record, which elaborate on the results of each previous study. A summary of these 3 archaeological surveys and other relevant sources of information is given in Table 12-1.

Table 12-1     Relevant Previous Studies for Terrestrial Archaeology


Relevance to this Study

Report of the Hong Kong Archaeological Survey, volumes I-III [12-1]

This report presents the results of the first territory-wide archaeological survey in Hong Kong which included field visits and field evaluation of known and potential archaeological sites across the North Lantau region.  Those sites recorded which are relevant to the current study include San Shek Wan (石灣), Sha Lo Wan (West) (沙螺灣西), San Tau (), Sha Tsui Tau (沙咀頭) and Pak Mong (白芒) (archaeological summaries below).

Report of the Archaeological Survey of North Lantau北大嶼山考古調查報告  [12-2]

An archaeological survey of North Lantau was commissioned by the AMO in 1991 and included survey and fieldwork at San Shek Wan, Sha Lo Wan (West), Sha Lo Wan, San Tau , Sha Tsui Tau and Pak Mong. This survey provides additional site information and follow-up data which elaborates and extends the field results obtained during the 1982-1985 survey (Peacock and Nixon, above). Notable additional Tang () and Song () period remains were found at Sha Lo Wan including stone spear and arrow heads, a stone axe mould and bronze knife.

Second Territory-wide archaeological survey of North Lantau [12-3]

As part of the second territory-wide archaeological survey of Hong Kong, a team from the Guangzhou Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology conducted a program of field evaluation throughout the North Lantau region during 1997-8.  Archaeological sites relevant to the present study surveyed during 1997-1998 include San Shek Wan, Sha Lo Wan (West), Sha Lo Wan and San Tau. Notable finds included remains of a Han () period mirror at San Shek Wan and 2 graves of Song period at San Tau. 

WP12 – Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment, (CE 1/97)[12-4]

A Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment for a study area between Tung Chung and Tai Ho (occupying the eastern half of the HZMB study area) was conducted for TDD in 1999 in advance of New Town development at Tung Chung. This included archaeological field survey of sites at San Tau, Sha Tsui Tau, Ma Wan Chung, Pak Mong and Tai Ho Wan. No new sites were found though a cache of Tang period coins was discovered at San Tau.

Archaeological Investigations on Chek Lap Kok Island


An archaeological survey of Chek Lap Kok was conducted in 1990 in advance of reclamation works and airport construction. Seven archaeological sites were surveyed and recorded over a 9-month period. These included remains of middle Neolithic pottery, Bronze Age burials and Tang period lime kilns which – following excavation and recording – were removed during airport works.  The only archaeological site of relevance to the current study is at Ha Law Wan (蝦螺灣) on the southern part of Chek Lap Kok Island. A complex of Yuan () period kilns was discovered during the 1990 archaeological program and these have been preserved by the Airport Authority on the northern lower slope of Scenic Hill.

New Airport Master Plan – Environmental Impact Assessment [12-6]

An EIA study conducted in 1990-1993 for the new airport development at Chek Lap Kok documented 7 archaeological sites. All of these have been removed with the exception of the Yuan period kiln complex at Ha Law Wan which has been preserved near Scenic Hill. A Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological site at Sha Lo Wan (West) was excavated in 1993 prior to removal of the headland for airport works. Operational impacts of the new airport on archaeological sites along the North Lantau coast were restricted to visual and noise intrusion.         Reports and publications have also been reviewed for individual archaeological sites within the study area. Where relevant these have been cited in the archaeological summaries in Table 12-2. It is emphasised that the boundary of each archaeological site delimits an area within each region of both proven and potential archaeology.  In effect the “archaeological site” has been defined by AMO to include areas where archaeological remains have been found and areas of potential.  The location of these known archaeological sites are illustrated in Figure 12.2.

Table 12-2     Description of Terrestrial Archaeological Sites

Terrestrial Archaeological Site


San Shek Wan (石灣) archaeological site [12-3]

This site occupies the beach, rear beach and hinterland on the west coast of North Lantau. There are no recorded in situ archaeological structures though a deposit of Late Neolithic period, Bronze Age, Han, Tang and Song artefacts exist within a coastal sandbar/rear beach setting. The inclusion of the rear beach and lower hill slopes within the San Shek Wan archaeological site suggest potential for archaeological material behind the beach.

Sha Lo Wan (W) (沙螺灣西) archaeological site [12-7]

This truncated promontory (removed in 1995 before airport construction) was formerly the site of a Late Neolithic promontory site with a rich assemblage of artefacts, pottery and evidence of domestic structures which was excavated in 1993. The remaining headland has traces of Tang and Neolithic period artefacts and proximity to the excavated site (described above) suggests further archaeological potential at this site.

Sha Lo Wan (沙螺灣) archaeological site [12-2] & [12-3]

The Sha Lo Wan archaeological site occupies an expansive open beach, a wide former estuary (now infilled) and a hinterland of low slopes which includes the village of Sha Lo Wan Tsuen. Archaeological remains by way of Late Neolithic period artefacts, Tang period kiln debris and Song period pottery have been recorded during surveys (1991 and 1998) within a coastal rear beach setting. The fact that the boundary of the archaeological site at Sha Lo Wan includes both the beach and hinterland suggests that further archaeological potential exists on the lower slopes and infilled valley.

San Tau () archaeological site [12-4]

The San Tau archaeological site lies on the western end of Tung Chung Bay on a large outwash alluvial fan of coarse gravels. The San Tau site encompasses two archaeological sites - Tin Sam (west of San Tau village) and that of San Tau proper. Tin Sam is represented by Tang and Song period artefacts and San Tau by Tang period burials as well as Late Neolithic, Six Dynasties, Tang (), Song () and Qing () period artefacts. The boundary of this site includes both the alluvial plain and adjoining lower slopes which holds the prospect of further archaeological material.

Ha Law Wan (蝦螺灣) archaeological site [12-5]

Ha Law Wan is located on the western side of Scenic Hill on Chek Lap Kok Island. During archaeological excavation prior to airport development, a complex of 13 Yuan () period iron smelting kilns were found. These have been preserved in situ and the area set aside as a visitor area managed by the Airport Authority. This site has been excavated and the prospect of further archaeological potential here is limited.

Sha Tsui Tau (沙咀頭) archaeological site

[12-8 and 12-9]

The Sha Tsui Tau archaeological site lies at the head of Tung Chung Bay immediately east of the river outlet. The Hau Wong temple (1765) occupies part of the site. The area yielded two Tang period kiln structures, some surface Tang (), Song () and Ming () ware and traces of Neolithic period artefacts. A Qing ()  period burial was found during excavation in 1995.

Ma Wan Chung  (馬灣涌) archaeological site [12-4]

The Ma Wan Chung archaeological site is located on the eastern side of Tung Chung Bay. Two Tang period lime kilns as well as kiln debris were found near Ma Wan Chung village as well as a few fragments of Neolithic pottery. The boundary of the archaeological site includes the alluvial plain to the rear of the archaeological findspots described above and is considered to have further archaeological potential.

Pak Mong (白芒) archaeological site [12-10] *

The Pak Mong archaeological site lies to the east of Tung Chung Bay and occupies both the beach and hinterland which includes the 18th Century village of Pak Mong. This site is an extensive and important archaeological site represented by 4 clear cultural horizons and rich assemblage of Jin () / Tang () / Song (), Han (), Bronze Age and Late Neolithic period artifacts.

Tai Ho (大蠔) archaeological site [12-4] *

The Tai Ho archaeological site occupies a large valley and hinterland which surround a relatively deep embayment (Tai Ho Bay) to the east of Tung Chung. Two small archaeological deposits of Tang and Song period artefacts from a coastal setting and a promontory site to the east were recorded during surveys in 1991 and 1998.

Tung Chung Game Board Carving [12-4]

A rock carving of game board design and unknown date is located some 200m to the rear of the Tung Chung Battery.

Fu Tei Wan Kiln [12-5]

A Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907) lime kiln was found at Fu Tei Wan, which was relocated to New Tung Chung Development Area. The site was destroyed by construction of the airport island.

Notes : * These archaeological sites are stated in the EIA Study Brief for HZMB which has been renamed to HKLR.  The latest HKLR alignment would now terminates at HKBCF which is more than 3 km from Pak Mong and Tai Ho.  The description on Pak Mong and Tai Ho Archaeological Sites are therefore included for information only.

12.4.2               Terrestrial Archaeological Investigation         The preferred alignment would span over part of the Sha Lo Wan (West) Archaeological site.  All the viaduct structure would not encroach into this archaeological site.         This will be the only area of archaeological potential impacted by the alignment.  According to the EIA Study Brief ESB-110/2003, an archaeological survey was conducted in this area from Sept 6th – 15th 2004 within an area 50m on either side of the proposed alignment. The Archaeological Survey Report at Sha Lo Wan (West) Southern Headland (March 2007) is appended in Appendix 12D.         Sha Lo Wan (West) lies on the northern coast of Lantau Island and opposite the south-western corner of the Chek Lap Kok airport. Much of the promontory here was removed in 1995 before airport construction together with the remains of a prominent Late Neolithic archaeological site, excavated in 1993 [12-7]. Though some 150m south of the archaeological site described above, the remaining headland has traces of Tang and Neolithic period artefacts, found during a limited field survey and test pit program in this area in 1985 [12-1] 1991 [12-2] and 1998 [12-3]. The geology of the Sha Lo West headland is granite with mapped colluvial deposits occupying the central small valley toward the east of the study area.

Method         The field survey strategy included a desktop review of previous studies, air photo interpretation and an interpretation of local geomorphology. A field scan and sampling program (test pit and auger survey) was planned on both elevated and lower slope sites within the survey area with the aim of investigating the prospect of archaeology associated with the former promontory site and on the gentler slopes to the east. The area was overgrown with scrubby vegetation and a grid sampling method proved impractical.

Ground Survey Results         The field scanning program found nothing across the southern and western part of the study area, with the exception of a fragment (top half) of a large polished stone hammer found on the hilltop to the west of the study area.         On the eastern beach however, to the north of a small stream outlet in the centre of the beach, sparse Prehistoric and Tang Dynasty artefacts were found along an approximate 40m sector of the beach, eroded from a dark sandy horizon some 30 cm thick above the weathered bedrock at the head of the beach. This discovery drew attention to a probable source area behind the beach where prehistoric and historic period sherds were found along an abandoned and eroded trackway behind the beach. Further survey revealed the presence of an extensive and previously unmapped sand deposit some 50m x 70m in dimensions and at an elevation of between 3-7m PD - somewhat unexpected given the relatively small embayment and hinterland. The results of the ground survey implied that this area held considerable archaeological potential and it became a prominent focus of the test pit and auger program.

Test Pit Surveys         A total of 6 test pits and 22 auger holes and shovel tests were excavated across the study area to investigate both the extent and archaeological potential of the sand deposit to the rear of the eastern beach as well as previously unsurveyed areas throughout the study area including the hilltop.         Test Pits 2, 3, 4 and 5 were sited within the sand body proper. TP3 produced an assemblage (95 sherds) of both Tang Dynasty ribbed plain ware and several crackled glaze fragments above a layer of Late Neolithic soft geometric stamped pottery, coarse-corded ware and well-fired geometric ware. TP2 and TP4 also produced Tang Dynasty sherds while auger holes 3, 7 and 17 yielded Late Neolithic and Tang Dynasty sherds.         An additional test pit and auger hole located on the main hillcrest failed to find any archaeological material to the west of the study area. While in a less prominent position, when compared with the headland site excavated in 1993, the presence of archaeological remains on this hilltop should not be ruled out. A test pit and auger hole was also located on the western beach where the hinterland rises steeply behind the beach. Sampling here and within mid and lower slope positions along the southern and northern margin a of the study area also failed to find archaeological remains.     The sand body on the eastern side of the remaining Sha Lo Wan (W) headland occupies much of the small valley and gentle hinterland in two broad lobes of variable thickness, some 200m2 in area.     Based on the amount and distribution of both Tang Dynasty and Late Neolithic pottery from sample sites TP2, TP3, A3 and A7 there is a concentration of archaeological remains from these periods at the northern half of this feature. The archaeological finds described above and the identification of a sand deposit on the eastern side of the Sha Lo Wan (W) headland suggest that this area holds further archaeological potential.     Figure 12.3 shows the locations of the test pits and auger holes excavated at Sha Lo Wan (West) Archaeological Site.

Discussion of Survey Results     It would seem reasonable to speculate that the age and proximity of these finds to the rich Late Neolithic site excavated in 1993 - on the (now removed) promontory to the north – that both sites would have been connected. Indeed contemporary occupation of both areas might be strongly argued on the basis that the beach and rear-beach site found during this survey offers a more sheltered setting and beach access not offered by the hilltop site. There must have been transit between the promontory and the nearby beach and likely habitation of the rear beach – at the same time and likely by the same people who were engaged in a range of activities on the promontory.     If this is the case and the entire promontory might be considered as a Late Neolithic archaeological complex - with the northern part of this complex gone- the southern part may yet provide evidence of contemporary and varied activity.

12.4.3               Impacts Evaluation         All the bridge structure would totally avoid the Sha Lo Wan (West Archaeological Site) during both the construction and operational phases.  Hence, there will be no direct impacts.  Indirect impacts such as traffic noise would also be insignificant since the deck structure would have provided significant screening effect. 

12.4.4               Recommendations         Since there are no significant direct and indirect impacts during the construction and operational phases, mitigation measures are not required and there are no residual impacts.         As a precautionary measure, periodic monitoring of construction works should be conducted to ensure the avoidance of any impacts on the Sha Lo Wan (West) Archaeological Site.  Access to the said archaeological site for works area and storage of construction equipment is not allowed.


12.5                    Built Heritage

12.5.1               Desk-top Research         There are no declared monuments within the HKLR study area. However, there are 2 declared monuments (ie the Tung Chung Battery and Tung Chung Fort) lying at beyond 500m from the preferred alignment.         Further references include the Tung Chung Fort [12-11], Forts and Batteries, Coastal defence in Guangdong during the Ming and Qing Dynasties [12-12] and Forts and Pirates [12-13].         A summary of built heritage for the Tung Chung – Tai Ho region is also provided within the Historical chapter of the TDD 1999 report [12-4] on Tung Chung redevelopment.         Table 12-3 summarises localities within the study area based on a review of available data on built heritage, which has been supplemented by limited field survey. These include villages/districts of Kau Liu, San Tau, Tin Sum, Sha Lo Wan and San Shek Wan cited within the Study Brief.

Table 12-3     Summary of Built Heritage

Built Heritage

Approximate distance from HKLR


San Shek Wan (石灣)



San Shek Wan has few buildings, which are over 50 years old. Most are of single storey stone construction. A temple – one hall type – was originally a shrine, which was developed as a temple in the mid 20th century. A Qing period inscription  (renovated 1933) exists on the path toward Nam Tin - south of San Shek Wan.

Sha Lo Wan Tsuen (沙螺灣村)


150m – temples;

300m - villages

Sha Lo Wan Tsuen is a notable historic village with a Pa Kong (harbour guarding) Hung Shing temple - with a bronze bell dating to 1774 – and a two-hall Tin Hau temple built in the early 18th century. Both temples are near the beach, with the main village about a kilometre inland.  The entrance to Sha Lo Wan Tsuen is through the remains a village wall and stone gateway. There are three ancestral halls, two of modern construction, the third (Man Ancestral Hall) is currently being rebuilt. There are 5 rows of Hakka village houses of stone, mud and green brick construction.

San Tau () [12-4]


The San Tau region includes the, villages of San Tau, Tin Sam (田心) and Kau Liu (較寮). San Tau is a small village with ancestral halls of the Ho and Tse families. There are 3 rows of old stone and green brick houses, many in ruin. Tin Sam is a small hamlet about 150m north of Kau Liu with 2 rows of old stone houses and stone well.  Kau Liu is a small hamlet some 250m north –west of San Tau with a notable row of 3 green brick buildings and house ruins.

There are two prominent Fung Shui elements in the San Tau area - the elephants trunk Fung Shui element which extends north-south, following the course of the main river through San Tau and the dragons back element follows the ridgeline to the immediate west of the village.

Tung Chung Fort (東涌炮台) [12-4]


Tung Chung Fort lies at the head of Tung Chung Bay and is a declared monument of early 19th Century date with substantial stone walls, 3 prominent gates and 6 cannons facing toward Tung Chung Bay.

Tung Chung Battery (東涌小炮台) [12-4]


Tung Chung Battery is an early 19th century fortification located on an elevated setting on the eastern side of Tung Chung Bay.  It is a declared monument.

Kau Liu


Kau Liu is a small hamlet some 250m north–west of San Tau and contains a notable row of three green brick Hakka style buildings and scattered house ruins. The typical design of these buildings is of a one-hall-one room type, built of green bricks with timber framed pitched ceramic tiled roof. Cocklofts are common above the back room. These houses are not graded historical buildings.  A small earth god lies opposite the school at Kau Liu. The school was built in 1959.

Tin Sam


Tin Sam is a small hamlet about 150m north of Kau Liu with two rows of stone houses and an old stone well.  The houses are not of traditional Hakka design and have been abandoned.         Figure 12.2 shows built heritage in the surroundings of the preferred alignment.  Field survey method of this area was in general accordance with BHIA guidelines issued by the AMO and Annex 10 and 19 of the EIAO - Technical memoranda. It should also be noted that other than Sha Lo Wan, all built heritage shown in Figure 12.2 are beyond 300m from the alignment.  They are included in the above Table 12-3 for reference only.  For Pak Mong and Tai Ho, although they are mentioned in the Study Brief, they are located more than 3 km from the project and hence are not included in the assessment.

Sha Lo Wan Areas         As discussed above, there are 2 temples and a shrine fall in Sha Lo Wan that are within 150m of the preferred alignment.  The main village complex of Sha Lo Wan Tsuen is some 500m from the coast and hence there is large buffer distance in between. At this distance, there will be no direct impacts to any of the structures and any adverse indirect impacts will be minimal.         A location map  of the temples at Sha Lo Wan is provided in Image 1 of Appendix 12E. Both temples face Northeast and the Hung Shing Temple and Tin Hau Temple are situated side by side, with a separate and smaller earth shrine to the north of the Tin Hau Temple.. A report of the description and condition of these temples and shrine is shown below and photographs are provided from Images 2 to 6 of Appendix 12E.

(1)  Hung Shing Temple  (refer item 1 on location plan and images of Appendix 12E)         The Hung Shing Temple is a three-roomed temple with twin-pitched roof, datable – with reference to an inscription on a cast iron bell within the temple - to at least 1774. The temple was renovated in 1852, 1883, 1968, 1977, 1980 and 1998 and is made of stone, concrete rendered construction facing the sea. The Temple bears the name “Ba Gong Gu Miao” (把港古廟).         Hung Shing is one of the popular sea gods within southern China, worshipped for protection by fishermen and to prevent flooding. The Hung Shing festival is held at the temple and forecourt at Sha Lo Wan on the first weekend of August.     The name Ba Gong means “guarding the bay”. This suggests that the purpose of the temple is to guard the bay, prevent strong tides and provide protection from bad weather. Sha Lo Wan village faces north east in a topographic setting prone to strong tides and storms - particularly during typhoons. To protect the village, legend has it that the village chief hundreds of years ago asked a Fung Shui master for advices about the location of a temple. He proposed to build a temple in guarding the bay. Then they invited the Ba Gong Da Wang ( the king of bay guarding) Hong Sheng stayed into this temple. After that, there were no flooding in Sha Lo Wan village.

Architectural detail :  The Door and Roof Motifs     There are dragon motifs on each of the front doors of the Hung Shing Temple to guard the temple and two dragons on the ridge of the roof between a pearl – a common feature of ridge decoration in temples throughout Hong Kong.

(2) Tin Hau Temple (refer item 2 on location plan and images of Appendix 12E)     The Tin Hau Temple (天后宮) in Sha Lo Wan was built at 1819. Tin Hau is one of the main gods, worshipped by fishermen throughout Hong Kong. The temple is a twin pitched design with single chambered room. The temple was renovated most recently in 2000 with donation from the Association of Chinese Temples and the Village Committee. Condition of the building is generally good with some minor damp on the interior west wall.

Architectural detail : The Door Gods and Chi Wen (鴟吻)     There are two groups of door gods on the front of the temple’s doors. The duties of door gods are guarding the temples and keeping the bad spirits away from the temple. The god on the left door with a black face is called Qu-Chi Jing De   (屈遲敬德) and the one on the right with a white face who called Qin Shu Bao     (秦叔寶).     There are two fish-like figures located on the two sides of the main ridge of the Tin Hau temple called Chi Wen (Image 6). These figures are common on temples throughout Hong Kong.     Chi Wen is one of the nine sons of dragon. Chi Wen stays always at the top temple and two side of main ridge. Because Chi Wen is spirit of water, it can prevent conflagration; it likes looking into the distance from a high place.

(3) Earth Shrine (refer item 3 on location plan and images of Appendix 12E)     A small earth shrine lies about 5m to the north of the Tin Hau temple.  The condition of the shrine is good.

12.5.2               Impact Evaluation         There will be no direct impacts associated with either the construction or operational phase of the project as there were no recorded heritage resources in either of the alignment or works areas along the alignment. The following indirect impacts were assessed for both the construction and operational phases for the temples and shrine at Sha Lo Wan.

·               Visual and aesthetic impacts on heritage resources; and

·               Noise impact.

Construction Phase         The evaluation of impacts during the construction phase is given below.

 Table 12-4    Evaluation of Impacts – Construction Phase


Separation to Works Area

Impact Assessment -


Impact Assessment -


Hung Shing Temple,

Tin Hau Temple and Earth Shrine





150 m





There will be some visual or aesthetic impacts associated with the proposed viaduct which lies within clear view and 150m to the north of the temples and shrine.

The construction works areas would be about 100m from the temple and hence visual impact would not be significant.

There will be some construction noise impacts  on worship and observance at festival time.

Construction noise impacts (see Section 6) has revealed that the noise level would comply with the criteria and hence mitigation measure is not required. 




Operational Phase         The evaluation of impacts during the operational phase is given below.

Table 12-5     Evaluation of Impacts – Operational Phase



Separation to Alignment

Impact Assessment - visual

Impact Assessment

- noise

Hung Shing Temple,

Tin Hau Temple and Earth Shrine









There will be some visual or aesthetic impacts associated with the proposed project as the HKLR route lies within clear view and 150m to the north of the temples and shrine.

Aesthetic design on HKLR will be provided in the detailed design stage to minimise the visual impacts.

There will be some traffic noise impacts on worship and observance at festival time for the same reason.

Operational noise impact (see Section 6) has revealed that the noise level would comply with the criteria and hence mitigation measure is not required.




12.5.3               Historical Land Use Patterns and Cultural Landscape Features         These resources include historical terracing, for both agricultural and slope management functions, field patterns and traditional track ways as well as fung shui features, such as ponds, woods and lines.   There are no historical land use patterns were identified in the field scan of the works area.

12.5.4               Pre-War / Clan Graves

Introduction         Field investigations were undertaken to identify the presence of any pre World War II / Clan graves in the Study area. A grave survey was conducted which is described below.

Methodology         Information on graves was collected in the field through on-site surveys and interviews with local informants.  Aerial photographs and topographical maps were used to identify the presence of graves.

Results of Grave Survey         No pre-war graves were recorded during the survey.  Several remains of graves lie on the hill to the east of the Sha Lo Wan headland although these are in complete disrepair and do not appear to have been visited for decades. A small multi-pot graves lies on the eastern side of the headland which does indeed appear to be visited. This grave does not appear to be pre-war.

12.5.5               Recommendations         As the alignment will span over the Sha Lo Wan west headland there will be no direct impacts on any graves within the area. As no pre-war graves were located and there are no indirect impacts.  Mitigation measures are therefore not required.

12.6                    Marine Archaeology

12.6.1               The primary focus of the marine archaeology study follows a 4 stage process as outlined in the EIA Study Brief and AMO’s requirements. This includes:-

(a)              A baseline review, which includes both a summary of historical sources and geological maps and texts.

(b)              A review which contributes to the design and interpretation of results from a submarine geophysical survey of the study area.  The geophysical survey will deploy high resolution seismic (boomer), side scan sonar and an echo sounder.

(c)              Data examined from desktop information and the geophysical survey has been analyzed to provide an indication of the character and extent of marine archaeological resources within the study area. This would facilitate formulation of a strategy for investigation. Image 8 of Appendix 12E shows the extent of geophysical surveys.

(d)              Where necessary, remote Operated Vehicle (ROV)/Visual Diver Survey/Watching Brief will be conducted subject to the outcome of the above tasks to evaluate areas of archaeological potential. These areas can be inspected by ROV or divers.  ROV or a team of divers with both still and video cameras would be used to record all seabed features of archaeological interest.  A watching brief may be undertaken in the event of heavy marine traffic.

12.6.2               If archaeological material is found, AMO will be contacted immediately to seek guidance on its significance and appropriate mitigation measures would be designed and implemented by the project proponent.


Environment, Geology and Setting

12.6.3               The study area is dominated by the CLK Airport.  This reclamation project, completed in 1997, incorporated the island of CLK, as well as the smaller Lam Chau to the west (Image 9 of Appendix 12E).  The waters surrounding these offshore islands were very shallow, probably less than 3m. 

12.6.4               To the east of CLK is an expanse of shallow water, less than 2.5m, where the seabed composes of fine black sandy mud, mixed in some areas with patches of shell [12-14] as shown in Image 10 of Appendix 12E.  Similar conditions are found in the narrow stretch of water between CLK and Lantau.  The seabed in this area is also composed of black sandy mud with shell patches, and pebbles within the matrix as well.

12.6.5               To the west of CLK and Lantau, the water depths increase gradually to 10m where the study area meets the HKSAR Boundary [12-15].   However a chart of the area made in 1780 shows shoal waters to the west of CLK (Image 11 of Appendix 12E).  This could possibly indicate that the area was shallower over 200 years ago or that the captain of the vessel undertaking the survey thought that the area was too shallow to be considered worth navigating for European vessels and therefore did not bother conducting the survey there.  The seabed is similar that currently known elsewhere within the study area that is, it is composed of fine sand black mud with shell.

12.6.6               The shore line bounding the study area is a mixture of reclaimed shoreline and unreclaimed rocky shore.  For the most part, the shoreline of CLK is man-made however remnants of the rocky shoreline of original island is visible in the south east corner the airport.  On Lantau the eastern shore is composed of reclaimed land up to eastern end of Tung Chung Wan.  From Tung Chung Wan to the south western edge of the study area the shore line is pebbly with occasional sections of low cliffs.  The seabed immediately adjacent to the shoreline is rocky, some parts of which are exposed at low tide.

12.6.7               A large volume of borehole data for North Lantau and Tung Chung exists from previous site investigations including those for the airport project (Image 12 of Appendix 12E).  This large dataset was compiled as part of a computerized database [12-16]. The nature and distribution of offshore superficial sediments have been mapped using borehole logs, shallow seismic profiles and CPT traces carried out initially for the Port and Airport Development Strategy, offshore sand resource exploration and site investigation for reclamation. Borehole ESC 17 located off North-west Lantau provides a summary of the three main formations within the study area (Image 13 of Appendix 12E).

12.6.8               The CLK formation is 15-20m thick and represents the old Pleistocene sediments, which indicate a predominantly fluvial with fluctuating estuarine environment. Deep incised channels imply phases of erosion and palaeo-drainage to the north (Urmston Road) and west into the Lantau Channel [12-17]. The date range of these sediments is from 16,420 B.P. to 80,000 B.P.

12.6.9               The Sham Wat formation was recognized relatively recently, 1995, and overlies the Chek Lap Kok formation with a maximum thickness of 17 metres and occurs both north and south of Lantau Island. The total subcrop area is small however (some 96 km2) and is not exposed at the seabed. This formation is composed of soft to firm grey clayey silts with abundant peaty debris and sand near the top of the formation. These sediments have been accumulated rapidly and within an estuarine to marine environment with rising sea-levels and increasing salinity with time.  Above -22.8 mPD these sediments were deposited in fully marine conditions and slightly deeper water.  Dating of these sediments has yielded incomplete results.

12.6.10           The Hang Hau formation is the most widely developed offshore superficial deposits in the North Lantau area some 5-10 metres thick to the west of CLK and to 15m east of the airport.  It forms a blanket of muddy sediment covering all older superficial deposits. It is composed of soft olive-grey clayey silt with shell debris scattered throughout or in lenses and has been deposited in a wholly marine environment. The Hang Hau formation has been dated from 7,960 B.P. to 2,170 B.P.  It is at the interface of the CLK and Hang Hau formations that evidence related to the early human occupation of the Hong Kong area are to be found.

12.6.11           The area is protected from winds from the south and eastern quadrants.  The exception to this is the extreme western end of the study area which is exposed to winds from the south west.  The present day CLK airport protects the northern shore of Lantau, but prior to reclamation, the smaller islands would have provided more limited protection from northern winds.  The island of Chek Lap Kok would have protected the entrance to Tung Chung Wan.

12.6.12           No wind data for the study area was available at the time of writing.  From published sources the predominant wind directions for the Hong Kong area west of Lantau are from the northern through to eastern quadrants, with the strongest winds emanating from the east [12-18] and Image 14 of Appendix 12E.  Another source states that 80% of Hong Kong’s typhoons come from the southeast [12-4].


Baseline Review

12.6.13           Desktop sources for marine archaeology are summarised in Table 12-6:

Table 12-6     Information Sources for Marine Archaeology



(a) Geotechnical Engineering Office

Extensive seabed survey data collected from previous geological research.

(b) Marine Department, Hydrographic Office

Substantial archive of hydrographic data and charts.

(c) The Royal Naval Hydrographic Department in the UK

An archive of all survey data collected by naval hydrographers.


12.6.14           The above data sources provide historical records and more detailed geological analysis of submarine features which may have been subsequently masked by more recent sediment deposits and accumulated debris.  A marine geophysical survey has been conducted to identify the targets for visual diver survey.  

12.6.15           It is understood that there have been no previous marine archaeological investigations within the HZMB study area.


Historical and Potential Inundated Terrestrial Sites

12.6.16           The earliest known archaeological sites in Hong Kong, such as those at Yim Tin Tsam, Kiu Tsui Chau, Pa Tau Kwu, Stonecutters Island, Tai A Chau, Cheung Sha, Yung Shue Wan, are littoral sites and all post date 6,000 yBP [12-19].  There are no recorded archaeological sites in Hong Kong which pre-date this period – while earlier cave sites exist in Guangdong [12-20] there is no evidence for sites of Early Neolithic or earlier (Mesolithic/Pleistocene) date in and around Hong Kong.

12.6.17           However, it is likely that human occupation occurred in Hong Kong during these earlier phases – and given the pattern of Neolithic occupation and its maritime focus in Hong Kong, it is likely that earlier sites too were coastal and that watercraft use was also prevalent for fishing, transport and local trade from this early period. Yet due to the last post-glacial rise in global sea levels, commencing around 18,000 yBP and stabilising around 6,000 yBP [12-21 and 12-22], human habitation sites on the earlier exposed coastal and estuarine areas have become inundated, with occupation shifting towards higher ground. In light of these changes in sea level in the last 12,000 years, the earliest evidence of human habitation within Hong Kong could be expected to be found underwater.

12.6.18           The prospect that submerged prehistoric sites might be preserved and detectable in the present setting is negligible. It is however possible to reconstruct the landscape of this period using offshore geophysical data and provide a conceptual notion of the environmental setting and possible occupation sites:-

(a)        Immediately following the end of the last Glacial Period coastal sites would have been focused at the margin of the continental shelf – as far as 120km south-east of Hong Kong at about 18000 yBP. The landscape north of Lantau Island at this time would have been relatively undulating – under the influence of N-S trending geological structural control – and draining toward a main W-E valley between present day Tuen Mun and Ma Wan Island.

(b)        With sea-level rise at about 10m per 500 years and a relatively rapid shift of the coastline from the Continental shelf toward Hong Kong, coastal sites are still likely to have been focused on the south-east margin of Hong Kong.

(c)        The palaeo-drainage to the north of Lantau Island during this period of sea-level rise indicates a main river/channel coincident with what is presently Urmston Road which extends west – east from Tuen Mun through Ma Wan Island. It would be easy to imagine such a valley as a focus of terrestrial occupation – and while terrestrial sites should not be ruled out - it is not until the early Holocene that the landscape north of Lantau became flooded from the north (Image 15 of Appendix 12E) and therefore a focus for coastal occupation and activity.

(d)        The palaeo-drainage of this area suggests that, particularly east of Chek Lap Kok – valleys trend N-S and were rather narrow. This implies that embayments and estuaries at the coast of these valleys would have been relatively small and perhaps not ideal occupation sites. Further to the west, the Tung Chung and Sham Wat valleys appear less structurally controlled, rather more open and therefore offering more attractive beach and estuarine sites for occupation in the period 8000 – 6000 yBP.

(e)        It is also notable that during this period of the marine transgression was advancing at some 4-5m per year or 150m in a generation, a factor which would have prevented long periods of continuous coastal occupation.

(f)          As sea-levels stabilized at about 6000 yBP the attraction of the northern coast of Lantau Island including Chek Lap Kok Island for prehistoric settlement is supported by the discovery of prominent coastal sites at Sha Lo Wan, Ha Law Wan, Sham Wan and Pak Mong which variably suggest occupation from Late Neolithic to Han period.

(g)        While sea-levels have been relatively stable over the past 6000 years, small fluctuations of a few metres have been argued [12-23, 12-24, 12-25], which allied with periods of deforestation – have altered erosion regimes and modified the coastal environment across North Lantau. What were former navigable estuaries – such as at Sha Lo Wan and Tung Chung Bay - have since silted up and been reclaimed for agriculture. The archaeological consequences of coastal sediment supply and progradation is that earlier sites may be buried and beyond common survey or prospecting methods.

12.6.19           Several Late Neolithic (post 6,000 yBP) sites have been identified along coastal and estuarine areas of Hong Kong.  Of particular relevance to the current study is the Late Neolithic archaeological site previously identified at Sha Lo Wan, northern shore of Lantau.  This site was identified in the early 1990s as part of archaeological assessments associated with the then proposed truncation of the Sha Lo Wan promontory to allow larger vessels to pass through the channel between Lantau and CLK.  An archaeological excavation, covering 340m2 was conducted on the Sha Lo Wan promontory in 1993 [12-26].  Numerous cultural features and artefacts were revealed, including burials, pottery, stone tools, polished rings, stone weights and evidence of domestic structures.  The promontory was truncated in 1995, however, the remaining headland also has traces of Tang and Neolithic period artefacts and the proximity to the Sha Lo Wan sites suggests further archaeological potential in this area.

12.6.20           Archaeological investigations on the island of Chek Lap Kok have also yielded further evidence of prehistoric occupation. Prehistoric stone adzes have been identified at the site of Ha Law Wan on the south-west coast – however, these finds were encountered in disturbed deposits and thus could not be accurately dated.

12.6.21           Sandy deposits at the base of the hill at Sham Wan Tseun, on the northern coast, have revealed painted and incised pottery dating to the Middle Neolithic, the earliest known phase of Hong Kong’s prehistory (red painted pottery oc c. 7,000 – 6,000 yBP) as well as Late Neolithic materials.

12.6.22           Fu Tei wan, on a coastal plateau on the SW coast, revealed evidence of Middle Neolithic occupation – C14 dates of 6,000 – 5,300 yBP – including numerous polished stone tools, pottery and a few complete pots found in pits, probably burial offerings.

12.6.23           Two sites at Kwo Lo Wan on the south-east coast, on the hillslope above the beach, also yielded Middle Neolithic occupation with large amounts of unique, incised pottery and five groups of burial offerings.  Six Bronze Age burials were also discovered, with C-14 dates of 3,400 – 2,800 yBP.  Bronze bivalve casting moulds, several sets of polished stone rings and a piece of fine textile stuck to and preserved by a corroded bronze object were also found.


International Trade, Defence and Salt - Qin (221-206 B.C.E.) to Late Ming (1500-1644 C.E.)

12.6.24           The early maritime history in the region is linked with international trade, defence and salt – as early as the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.E.) to Late Ming (1500-1644 C.E.).   The intensity of shipping in the Lantau area increased dramatically from the time of the Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.E.), centred on Guangzhou.

12.6.25           Around this time Guangzhou became the starting point of the maritime trade route over the South China Sea as well as a meeting place for the exchange of goods, a position, which it has maintained up to today.  The northern shore of Lantau overlooks a part of one of the world’s most popular shipping routes.  From around 200 B.C.E. until the advent of steam power, monsoon winds brought trading vessels from South East Asia toward the region.  Strong currents bought the vessels past the north west coast of Lantau before turning northwards to follow close to the eastern coast of the Pearl River.  Vessels also made their way to and from the Pearl River from the east, that is, towards northern China, via the waterway that separates Lantau and the mainland.

12.6.26           The destination for these trading vessels has always seen the rich merchant port of Guangzhou.  During the Tang (618-907 C.E.) and Song (960-1279 C.E.) Dynasties, Guangzhou had grown into the largest commercial port in China.  It was the first Chinese city to have a government office to administer foreign trade [12-27]. The importance of this centre and the volume of foreign shipping in the Pearl River delta was always a concern for the Imperial Government.  From as early as 411 C.E. a pirate band named the Lo Ting had established itself on Lantau and harassed shipping in the area.  To safeguard the seaward approaches to Guangzhou and minimise piracy, the Government established war junk patrols and forts at suitable anchorages (Image 16 of Appendix 12E). The initial base for the war junk patrols was situated at Tuen Mun.  It had been established sometime prior to the mid-8th century as in 743 C.E. troops were transported from Tuen Mun to the Yangtse River to combat a pirate fleet.  The war junk patrols were not always successful as in 758 C.E., Guangzhou was sacked by an Arab fleet.

12.6.27           Lantau at this time was of interest to the Government through its salt producing capabilities.  An Assistant to the Imperial Salt Commissioner based in Guangzhou was responsible for salt production on Lantau.  His responsibilities included clamping down on illicit salt-working, preventing salt smuggling and to protect the ships conveying salt to Guangzhou.  Salt pans and works may have been established around Tung Chung at this time as there is archaeological evidence of settlement at Tung Chung during the Tang Dynasty.  Tung Chung may have also served as an auxiliary anchorage for the war junks based at Tuen Mun due to that harbour’s exposure to the south, the direction from which most of Hong Kong’s typhoons originate (Image 17 of Appendix 12E).

12.6.28           During the 12th century C.E. the Southern Song Dynsaty established its capital at Hangzhou. As a result Government interest and presence in Lantau increased.  This resulted in a 50 year rebellion on Lantau as the Government sought to control fishing and salt-working activities. It is recorded in the 1819 gazetteer of Xin'an that there was an attempt in 1197 C.E. to stop private trading in salt on Lantau.  The islanders successfully repulsed a government invasion force by mining their harbours with wooden stakes and engaging them in a sea battle (Image 18 of Appendix 12E). They captured merchant ships, and killed more than three hundred people.  Tung Chung is very likely to have been one of the harbours involved in the rebellion.

12.6.29           In the second half of the 13th century, as the lands of the Southern Song were being overrun by the Mongols, the fleeing Imperial court on several occasions took refuge on Lantau.  Before finally leaving Lantau, the young Emperor, Tak Yau (德祐) died and his half brother, Prince Ping (帝昺) was enthroned.  These events took place in north Lantau and most likely at Tung Chung [12-4].

12.6.30           Of particular interest to the current study is the archaeological site of Ha Law Wan, on the western side of Scenic Hill, Chek Lap Kok, dating to the Yuan period (1271-1368 C.E.).  Archaeological excavations conducted at this site in 1990 and 1991 (prior to airport development) revealed a complex of thirteen Yuan period kilns, thought to be used for smelting the iron-rich sands.  Ha Law Wan was originally a west facing bay located on the western side of Chek Lap Kok Island with a narrow sandy beach and cultivated hinterland – the construction of the Chek Lap Kok airport has significantly altered the landscape however and only part of the original island at Scenic Hill (including the Ha Law Wan site) remains.

12.6.31           Each of the thirteen kilns identified at Ha Law Wan had been dug into the surrounding slope and were found in various states of preservation. Their construction included a lining of baked mortar with stone-lined outlets and chimney structures - evident wherever the kiln roof remained intact. All were roughly oval in shape and 1.5 - 2m in diameter, usually less than 1m high and filled with silt. Kiln No. 6 was completely filled which is certain to have led to its complete preservation (with roof in tact and four chimney structures). Sparse Tang and Song period pottery fragments were also found during excavation of the kiln structures.   The Ha Law Wan site was dated by C-14 to c. 1250-1400 C.E., roughly corresponding to the Yuan Dynasty.  This kiln complex at Ha Law Wan is unlike any described in historical sources or reported from China and is certainly the only one of its kind in Hong Kong

12.6.32           A second kiln complex – Tang culture – of very different construction to Ha Law Wan, has also been identified on Chek Lap Kok on a sand bar at Sham Wan Tsuen.  Archaeological investigations at this site have revealed a total of twelve kilns and three clay structures, probably slaking pits, along with a large quantity of Tang pottery and over one hundred coins.


The Age of Piracy – Middle to Late Ming (1500-1644) to Qing (1644-1911)

12.6.33            In 1513 the first Europeans, the Portuguese, arrived in their vessels at the Pearl River [12-28].  The Portuguese realisation of the importance of Guangzhou as a lucrative trade centre and shipping spurred them to make an attempt to seize an area on the coast at the entrance of the Pearl River.  In 1514, the Portuguese reached Tuen Mun Bay and were not expelled until 1521 after a sea battle during which Ming forces under Wang Hung achieved a decisive victory.  The Portuguese subsequently retreated to Macau [12-29], there is a strong argument, however, to suggest that the Portuguese may have seized Lantau and may have constructed a fortified settlement at Tung Chung or Tai O.  The sea battle itself seems to have taken place between Lantau (Tung Chung?) and Sha Chau - possibly at Sai Tso Wan.  The Portuguese lost possibly up to one warship and three unarmed sailing vessels [12-30].

12.6.34           No doubt influenced by the Portuguese attack, six guard stations were established in the Hong Kong region during the mid 1530s, with one station located at Tai O [12-31].  These stations were tasked not only to prevent further European incursions but also to try and control piracy.  As the 16th century wore on pirate attacks were becoming more frequent.  During the 17th century the Ming (1368-1644 C.E.) Government proved incapable in dealing with the threat and in 1662 C.E., the Qing (1644-1911 C.E.) Government took the extreme measure of expelling all coastal inhabitants to the hinterland.  Until rescinded in 1668 C.E., Lantau was effectively uninhabited except for pirates and smugglers.

12.6.35           The present villages around Tai O were founded from the mid 18th century onwards, with the earliest recorded village, Pak Mong, being settled in 1740.  The presence of two small cannons (jingals) at Tin Liu, a small hamlet adjacent to Tai O, suggests continued concerns regarding defence against pirates.

12.6.36           The troubles with piracy and the anti-trade tendencies in the Ming and Qing periods affected trade out of Guangzhou but did not stop it.  When China enforced a policy, which closed ports to foreign trade, an exemption was made for Guangzhou for a large part of that period.

12.6.37           Piracy continued to be endemic in the waters around Lantau well into the 19th century.   One of the most notorious pirates was Cheung Po Tsai (張保仔) from XinHui (Jiangmen Prefecture, Guandong Province), who became one chief of one of Cheung Yet’s branches [12-32].  In 1808-1809, Chang Po Tsai bested the Qing Government navy on several occasions.  At one time Chang Po Tsai had over 270 boats and 15,000 men under his command with hideouts in Tung Chung and Stanley on Hong Kong Island. In 1810 he was finally surrounded by the combined naval Chinese and Macao naval forces, near Chek Lap Kok, where, he gave himself up on the promise of a pardon [12-33].

12.6.38           Of particular importance to the current study is a battle between Chang Po Tsai and his “Ladrones” (Portuguese for pirates) and a Chinese Government funded fleet – Portuguese and Chinese vessels known as the “Invincible Squadron” – in a bay off Lantau in 1809.  The exact location of the battle is not known, however, it is widely interpreted that the bay referred to in historical accounts of the battle is Tung Chung as the Ladrones were known to have a base there.

12.6.39           Early in November 1809, Chang Po Tsai and his wife, “pirate queen” Zhang Yisao, were in Tung Chung with only two ships when they were threatened by three Portuguese ships and a brig.  Chang Po Tsai directed two fleets of Ladrone vessels (Red Flag Fleet & Black Flag Fleet), who were raiding the Pearl River, to come to their aid.  The Ladrone fleets reached Lantau on the 5th of November, having been chased by the Portuguese vessels upon passing the island of Lintin.  The fleets split into two squadrons, one anchoring in the bay and the other standing to the east – and a number of vessels were also apparently hauled onto shore for repairs.  On the 8th of November, four Portuguese ships, a brig and a schooner entered the mouth of the bay.  The Ladrones, with only seven junks active, hauled their vessels out, mooring them head to stern across the bay and manned approximately 200 rowboats ready for boarding.  There seems to have been a standstill for many days, however, as historical sources indicate that the first shots in the battle did not occur until the 20th of November, when an immense fleet of Chinese vessels – consisting of 93 war junks – arrived in Tung Chung to reinforce the Portuguese vessels (Image 19 of Appendix 12E).  The combined Chinese and Portuguese fleet then made sail towards the Ladrones, forming a line close in and firing broadsides for several hours until one of the largest Chinese vessels was “blown up” by a firebrand thrown from a Ladrone junk.  The combined fleet then retreated slightly yet continued a heavy cannonading almost continuously for another nine days.  The Ladrones apparently returned very little fire but managed to capture a twenty-two gun Chinese vessel under the cover of dark on the 23rd of November.  On the night of the 28th of November, the Portuguese sent eight small fire-vessels into the centre of the Landrone fleet.  These vessels apparently did very little damage, however, and the Ladrones eventually towed them on shore, extinguished the fires and broke them up for timber.  The following day, the Ladrones, having completed vessel repairs and being ready for sea, weighed up and prepared to sail.  The Portuguese and Chinese fleet saw these actions and made sail, being chased – ultimately unsuccessfully – by the Ladrones for several hours, thus ending the nine-day blockade [12-34].  A canonball reportedly recovered off Kwo Lo Wan – before the reclamation of Chek Lap Kok – may have been associated with this battle.

12.6.40           Historical sources regarding the battle – including official Qing and Portuguese accounts and an eyewitness account by British East Indiamen Officer Richard Glasspoole, a captive of the Ladrones – are rather varied; the offical records state that 1,4000 pirates were killed and many pirate ships sunk or damaged, whereas Glasspoole’s account records that only 30-40 pirates were killed and not a single Ladrone vessel destroyed.  Nonetheless, while it is impossible to determine the true details, it is almost certain that by the end of the battle, the strength of the pirate fleet was very little affected [12-35].

12.6.41           The pirate tradition in Lantau was so prevalent that the Tanka people of Tai O have a song, which celebrates the exploits of the female pirate, Lady Cheng I Sao.  She and her confederate Chang Po Tsai, held off an attack of government vessels for a week in Tung Chung Wan.  The date of this event is not known at present.

12.6.42           In the 19th century the Qing Government had given the task of protecting the coastal area of Hong Kong to the Tai Pang Battalion, which in 1831 was elevated to status of a Brigade.  The Brigade was divided into a Left and Right Battalion.  The Right Battalion was composed of 482 soldiers and 5 patrol boats with a Headquarters at Tung Chung Walled City.  In 1847 there were 30 soldiers at Tung Chung, 5 at Sha Lo Wan to the west and 5 at Tai O [12-36].

12.6.43           The garrison could not have been that effective as in November 1854, an expedition was sent to Tai O to deal with pirate junks that had fired on the Queen, an American naval steamer.  After shelling and an assault by hastily collected squadron of European vessels, the pirate junks and storehouses were destroyed.  Additional naval encounters were recorded in the area 1809, 1857 and 1864.  Two of these encounters took place in Tung Chung Wan.  By the end of the 19th century piracy in Hong Kong waters had been suppressed.


The Modern Period - 1900 to the Present

12.6.44           The modern period saw the northern part of Lantau remain poorly developed and rather neglected by the ever-expanding Hong Kong metropolis.  The advent of steam power and larger draft of modern vessels meant that fewer trading vessels took refuge in the safe and shallow anchorages along northern Lantau.  In 1898 when Lantau became part of the New Territories, the garrison and the seven or eight war junks departed.

12.6.45           Of profound influence to the landscape of North Lantau in the past 20 years has been the construction of the new Chek Lap Kok airport development between Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau islands.  In the 1990s it had become evident that the Kai Tak airport was too small for Hong Kong’s needs.  The new airport was constructed on an artificially created island, which incorporated the islands of Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau, with much of CLK being leveled and materials utilised for land reclamation.  It can be imagined that any shipwrecks which would have been present in the area now covered by CLK Airport would have been buried or destroyed during reclamation operations.

12.6.46           The construction of CLK airport also involved various infrastructure works around the artificial Island.  Most obvious is the land reclamation that took place along northern shore of Lantau to the east of Tung Chung (Image 20 of Appendix 12E), enabling the construction of the North Lantau Highway and the MTR railway and depot.

12.6.47           From current hydrographic charts it appears that a channel, 5 metres in depth, has been dredged through the shallow waters to the east of CLK, most likely for the purposes of allowing larger vessels to access Tung Chung.  A dredged channel seems also to be maintained in the narrow stretch of water between Lantau and CLK to depth of 7m (Image 10 of Appendix 12E).  A promontory on the northern shore of Lantau, opposite the SW extent of CLK, was also truncated in 1995 to allow passage for larger vessels.


Dredging History

12.6.48           A search of the CEO library, Port Works Authority, CEDD and Marine Department revealed no information about dredging of fill management within study area.  However, dredging activity has taken place in the last 15 years as can be shown on the Hydrographic Chart.


Shipwreck Records

12.6.49           Available shipwreck data for Hong Kong waters shows no wrecks in the vicinity of the study area.  Image 21 of Appendix 12E has been complied from data collected by the UK Naval Hydrographic Office prior to 1997 [12-37].

12.6.50           It should be noted that marine surveys by the UK Hydrographic Office were only interested in recording the location of shipwrecks, which could be a hazard to navigation. Therefore wrecks that may be hundreds of years old, which have a low profile on the seabed or may be partially buried, would not have been recorded as they did not necessarily pose a threat to shipping.

12.6.51           The closest known shipwreck to the study area appears in a 1990 chart of the Outer Approaches to Hong Kong (Image 22 of Appendix 12E).  This site lies just to the west of the HKSAR boundary.  Its position is approximate though it is unlikely to be situated within the study area.

12.6.52           Enquires at the Hong Kong Hydrographic Office and the Civil Engineering Office did not reveal any additional information on the locations of any shipwrecks within the study area.  It should be noted that in recent years the HKSAR boundary in the vicinity of Lantau has been moved further to the west. These waters are not as well surveyed as the rest of HKSAR.


Summary of Maritime Archaeological Potential from Baseline Review

12.6.53            From the historical and archaeological summary presented above, a review of known cultural activities relevant to local maritime archaeology includes:  transportation, and trade, military activity; fishing, piracy, anchorages (along major trade route and for war junks), customs and policing. As a result, the following archaeological site types might be expected within the study area:-

·               shipwrecks;

·               anchors;

·               moorings;

·               anti-ship stakes;

·               remnant salt pans;

·               maritime related structures such as jetties and navigation aids; and

·               submerged terrestrial sites.

12.6.54           The potential for the extent and frequency of the submerged cultural heritage is summerised as follows (Image 22 of Appendix 12E):-

·               There is potential for shipwrecks to be present across the study area, with the exception of areas that have been dredged.

·               The likelihood for the presence of shipwrecks increases closer to the northern shoreline of Lantau west of Tung Chung Wan, in Tung Chung Wan and the eastern shore of Chek Lap Kok Airport.

·               Anchors can be expected to be found on the rocky seabeds adjacent to the northern shore of Lantau and the eastern shore of Chek Lap Kok Airport.

·               Moorings are more likely to be present in, and near to, the bays within the study area, in particular Tung Chun Wan.

·               It is unlikely that the anti-ship stakes from 1179 C.E. would be in situ.  If they are any remains of such devices they would be situated in the mud seabed in the peripheral corners of Tung Chung Wan. 

·               Jetties and other maritime related structures are expected to be found within the bays of the study area with a greater frequency of such remains being present in Tung Chung Wan.

·               The remains of salt pans are most likely expected to be found along the shores of Tung Chung Wan. 

·               Evidence of submerged remains of prehistoric settlements can be expected to be found throughout the study area.  It appears that dredging that has been conducted to the south and the east of Chek Lap Kok Airport has been sufficiently deep so as to remove such remains.


Geophysical Survey

12.6.55           In compliance with Stage 2 of the MAI guidelines three marine geophysical surveys are relevant for this study (Image 23 of Appendix 12E).  The first and most extensive survey was conducted by EGS between May and June 2004 [12-38].   The later surveys were conducted in reaction to changes to the proposed bridge alignment and cover previously unsurveyed areas.  IGGE surveyed a relatively small area to the west of CLK on the HKSAR border in late 2005 while in late 2008 EGS surveyed the seabed off the north east corner of CLK as part of HKBCF component of the project [12-39 and 12-40].

12.6.56           The main EGS marine geophysical survey was carried out during the period 9th May to 14th June 2004.  The survey was conducted using primarily a marine seismic profiler and a dual side scan sonar.  Because of the variable water depths throughout the survey area, three vessels of varying drafts were used.  The main survey vessel, MV Wing Hung 8, was used in the deeper waters.  In the shallow waters a sampan was deployed.  A fibre glass speed boat was used in the very shallow waters in the Airport Channel (situated between Lantau and CLK) and Tung Chung Bay for echo sounding only.

12.6.57           The IGGE survey took place between the 29th November and 5th December 2005.  It was conducted aboard the MV Hung Kuk using a marine seismic profiler and dual channel side scan sonar.

12.6.58           The EGS 2008 survey used side scan sonar, multi-beam sonar and marine seismic profiling was carried out.  Some magnetometer survey work was conducted to the north of CLK, which was outside the assessment scope for this EIA.

12.6.59           The scope and objectives of the three marine geophysical surveys are described in Table 12-7:

Table 12-7     Objectives of marine geophysical surveys relevant to this EIA

EGS (2004)

IGGE (Late 2005)

EGS (Late 2008)

 * To map the sea bed and underlying significance geological horizons, and to provide this data in a form suitable for use during the bridge design.

* To record sea bed features such as wrecks and rock outcrops.

* To determine the extent of present and past fishing activities.

* To determine underlying significant geological horizons.

* To map seabed features.

* To locate man made objects, wrecks, rock outcrops and ‘main’ anomalies.

* To map seabed topography in the survey area.

* Identify the geological succession at and beneath the study area.

* Identify objects at or above the sea bed, such as rock outcrops, dumped materials and other artefacts.

* To measure seabed levels in detail.

* To locate the alignment of existing cables.


12.6.60           The marine geophysical survey covered the whole of the nominated, and expanded marine geophysical survey area, with the exception of the immediate shorelines of both the Airport, the North Lantau coast and part of southern Tung Chung Bay, where water depth was too shallow for survey boat access.  An area of approximately 750 x 750 m was also not recorded in the vicinity of aeronautical lights and landfall of the Hutchison cable on the eastern shore of CLK (see Image 24 of Appendix 12E).

12.6.61           For the side scan sonar survey, the distances between the survey tracks (or transects) were set to ensure that 100% of the seabed was recorded.  The distance between the tracks for side scan sonar work is dependent on water depth.  This is due to the design of side scan sonar where the greater the water depth, the greater the coverage and therefore the greater the distance between tracks.  The reverse is the case with shallow water.  For the majority of the waters east of the CLK and all of waters between CLK and Lantau, the distances between the tracks were approximately 20m.  For the extreme eastern part of the marine geophysical survey area and all of the waters west of CLK and Lantau, the distances between the tracks were approximately 40 metres.

12.6.62           For the marine seismic profiling the distance between the survey tracks was 40 metres, which was deemed – within the scope of the project – an appropriate coverage of the sub-seabed.

12.6.63           The shorelines of both north Lantau and CLK Island are rocky. Therefore it is not possible to conclusively determine the presence, or absence, of cultural material within these areas using the side scan sonar data.  Furthermore because of the extremely shallow waters and submerged rocks, which made navigation hazardous, the marine geophysical survey did not extend up to the shoreline in all places.  With regards to cultural remains of potential archaeological significance, none should be anticipated along the shoreline of CLK Island, with the exception of the unreclaimed shoreline in the south east corner, near Scenic Hill as the ‘island’ is less than 20 years old.  The situation is the reverse along the unreclaimed shoreline of North Lantau, especially near areas of known cultural activity such as settlements, both past and present.  Cultural remains of potential archaeological significance, such as shipwreck remains, maritime infrastructure (jetties) or ancient rubbish dumps, may be found close to shore near these localities.

12.6.64           Particular physical constraints were identified across the marine geophysical survey area, which influenced the conduct of the survey and the degree of confidence in the interpretation of the marine seismic data obtained. Data quality was adversely affected by masking within, and close to, the base of the Marine Deposits.  EGS interpreted this phenomenon as being caused by anaerobic decomposition of organic plant material trapped during a recent inundation. The gas bubbles so generated absorb the seismic energy, thereby preventing reflections from deeper horizons.  In such localities no marine seismic data could be collected.  Such areas are not uncommon around Hong Kong and limit the collection of marine seismic data.  These localities have been marked up on the appropriate figures presented in the EGS report and are delineated in Image 25 of Appendix 12E.

12.6.65           It should be expected that cultural objects such as shipwrecks present within the masked Marine Deposits would lay closer to the surface of the stratum rather than the base, and therefore may not have been affected by this phenomenon.  In masked areas, therefore the seismic assessment sub-seabed archaeological potential may be limited.  The bridge alignment crosses over these ‘masked’ areas only for a few hundred metres off the western shore of Lantau and a very short section off the east coast of CLK.

12.6.66           Close to the old village of Tung Chung on Lantau raw sewerage is being discharged untreated into the river flowing into the southern part of the bay.  The presence of this effluent in effect reflects the seismic signals and thereby only multiple seabed reflections are present on the marine seismic records.  As the route options do not pass through the southern half of Tung Chung Bay no recommendations regarding further investigation of the archaeological potential have been made.

12.6.67           In both the above “masked” areas side scan data was available which provided an indication of both surface and shallow submerged objects.  However, the impact assessment may include scope to include a Watching Brief programme aimed at mitigating any potential impact from pile construction on any deeper cultural objects.

12.6.68           The spatial accuracy of the surveys varied and are summarised in Table 12-8:

Table 12-8     Survey accuracies of marine geophysical surveys


EGS 2004

IGGE 2007

EGS 2009


+/- 0.15 m

+/- 0.10 m

+/- 0.15 m .


+/- 0.30 m

+/- 2.0 m

+/- 1.0 m

12.6.69           Assessment of Marine Archaeological Potential

Assessment of Geophysical Data     Task 3 of the MAI includes an interpretation of the geophysical survey data as well as baseline sources and an establishment of the nature and extent of marine archaeological potential along the proposed alignment for the HZMB and where limited reclamation is to take place along the eastern edge of CLK.     For ease of understanding detailed descriptions of the bathymetry, seabed and stratigraphy have been separated into the following three sections (see Image 26 of Appendix 12E).

·               East of CLK Island

·               Channel between Lantau and CLK Island and Tung Chung Bay

·               Waters west of Lantau and CLK Island

Relevant marine geophysics charts for this assessment are presented in Appendix 12F.


Bathymetry     The bathymetry in the vicinity of the seabed has been reviewed and is summarised below.




East of Chek Lap Kok Island

·       At the eastern part of this area the water depth close to the north coast of Lantau is –2.1 mPD.  This can be expected, as this is a reclaimed shoreline.  Close to the eastern shore of CLK Island, where there has been limited reclamation, the water depth is –1.0 mPD, though dredging around the berths of the CLK Ferry Terminal has increased depths to around –6 to –7 mPD. The water depth increases only gradually with distance from shore to a depth of around –4.0 mPD.  The exception to this is the channel leading into Tung Chung Bay, where the maximum water depth is –9.7 mPD.  Water depth in the dredged approach to the ferry terminal reaches –5.5 mPD.

·       The seabed is generally flat except in the channels.  There is evidence of scouring, only slight, along the Lantau coast and along the channels.

Channel Between Lantau and Chek Lap Kok Isalnd and Tung Chung Bay

·      Water depth in this area varies from the extremely shallow waters of southern Tung Chung Bay and the northern shore of Lantau (+1.1 to + +1.2 mPD).  The waters adjacent to the CLK Island seawall are also shallow.  The deepest water is in the channel, dredged, which runs east-west, parallel with the southern shore of CLK Island.  Maximum water depth at this location is –9.1 mPD.

·      Both shorelines are characterised by boulders, colluvium and rock outcrops along the southern shore and deposited as fill along the northern shore.  For the remainder of the seabed in this area it is smooth in shape with the exception of the channel.

West of Lantau and Chek Lap Kok Island

·       As can be expected the shallowest part, minimum of –1.4 mPD recorded, of this survey area is along the shores of CLK Island and Lantau.  Water depth gradually increased to a maximum depth of –10.2 mPD at the extreme western end of the marine geophysical survey area.  A maximum depth of –9.2 mPD was recorded at the dredged western end of the Airport Channel.  This channel runs along the southern edge of CLK and is up to 100 m wide in places.

·       The seabed in this area is generally smooth with the exception of boulders and rock outcrops close to the Lantau shoreline.


Interpretation of Seabed     The seabed information in the vicinity has been reviewed and is summarised below.


Interpretation of Seabed

East of Chek Lap Kok Island

·       The seabed composition in this area is a mix of cohesive (silty) and granular sediments.  A band of silty sediment in the centre of the area roughly corresponds with the dredged channel.  This possibly indicates that the channel is silting up.

·       Extensive trawling has been observed in areas where the seabed is a mix of cohesive/granular to granular sediments.  Along the north east coast of CLK the seabed is composed mostly of finer sediments.  There are some relatively large debris fields to the east of the CLK Ferry Terminal, through which passes a Hutchison telecommunications cable.

·       A dredged channel runs approximately through the centre of the area from the north east to the south west.  There is a higher density of dumped material close to the reclaimed shore of Lantau.  In the eastern half of the area there are numerous sonar contacts of individual objects.  Some have been interpreted as ‘blocks’.  These may be moorings.

Channel Between Lantau and Chek Lap Kok Isalnd and Tung Chung Bay


·       The composition of the seabed in Tung Chung Bay is a mix of silty/granular to granular sediments with extensive rock outcropping and boulders along the southern and western shore of Tung Chung Bay.  West of Tung Chung Bay the seabed is mostly silty.  A band of granular sediments runs close, and parallel, to CLK Island.  This band of sediment corresponds with the dimensions of the dredged Airport Channel.  It is likely that these sediments are part of the alluvial stratum that has been exposed by the dredging of the channel.

·       The seabed in this area is littered with debris, most of which may have been deposited during the construction of CLK Island.  This would be more the case for debris identified between the Airport Channel and CLK Island.  Debris identified south of the Airport Channel, in particular within Tung Chung Bay is most likely associated with the cultural activities that have been taking place along the northern shoreline of Lantau for the last 8,000 years.  A number of sonar contacts in the Bay, south of the Airport Channel were identified, some of which were tentatively described as being potentially shipwrecks.

Waters West of Lantau and Chek Lap Kok Island

·       The seabed composition in this Survey Area is overwhelmingly silty with patches of granular sediments close to the western shore of Lantau and off the north west tip of CLK Island.  The seabed has been extensively trawled.  Close to the HKSAR border in the northern half of the area surveyed by IGGE in 2005, there is a scatter of debris, one cluster appearing to be that of a wreck.


Interpretation of Stratigraphy     EGS identified four broad geological successions in their 2004 survey.  Of these, the two uppermost strata are relevant for this study.  They are:-

·               Marine deposits (deposited during Holocene, forming the seabed and immediate subsurface strata). Very soft to soft silty clay.  Sometimes sandy at the base or near the shorelines.  These deposits are between 8,000 to 10,000 years old.  Immediately prior to this time the mean sea level was approximately 80 to 100m lower than the present level.

·               Alluvium (Strata beneath the marine deposits, derived from terrestrial conditions during the late Pleistocene). Soft to firm silty, sandy clay to compact dense silty fine sand sometimes with gravel.



Interpretation of Stratigraphy

East of CLK Island

At the interface between the marine deposits and the alluvium – the pre-inundation palaeo-topography – there are 4 drainage channels where surface run-off from Lantau drained down to the main river channel in Urmston Road to the north.  The base of these channels is about 5m below the level of the surrounds.

Channel between Lantau and CLK Island and Tung Chung Bay


Marine deposits dip gently northwards across the airport channel towards CLK Island.

Waters west of Lantau and CLK Island

Marine deposits thicken, -20.0 to -25.0m to the north and est.  A pattern of palaeo-drainage has been cut into this surface, flowing generally to the north and west.


Process of Evaluating Material and Anomalies of Marine Archaeological Potential     The areas and anomalies assessed to be of archaeological potential were determined by a combination of the following:-

Step 1 :

The predicted type, extent and frequency of submerged cultural heritage within the study area (carried out in the Review).

Step 2 :

‘Targets’ or areas identified by the marine geophysical survey

Step 3 :

Examination of aerial photographs     All three marine geophysical surveys supplied charts depicting seabed features interpreted from the side scan sonar data in .dgn, .dxf and .dwg formats.  These files were opened in AutoCAD 2008.  The EGS 2004 and IGGE 2005 reports were also accompanied by raw side scan sonar data.  This data was presented in file formats particular to each company.  EGS had supplied the programme with which to view the data.  The IGGE raw side scan sonar data could not be viewed.     This situation was acceptable with respect to the assessment of archaeological potential as the proposed bridge alignment passes over a section of seabed where there was an overlap with EGS 2004 survey.  With respect to the absence of the raw side scan sonar data from the EGS 2008 survey, no anomalies of archaeological potential were noted within the vicinity of the proposed bridge alignment as discerned from the relevant seabed features chart.     With respect to the EGS 2004 survey, records collected in the field were interpreted using the C-View system.  The process was as follows:-

·               Records were scrolled on the PC screen in waterfall mode,

·               The interpretation option allowed the following operations to be carried out:

-                The screen could be stopped and started.

-                Features can be defined and marked up in shaped or lined form.

-                Features can be annotated.

-                Interpreted records can be saved for subsequent plotting.

·               On completion, the file was passed directly to the AutoCAD 2008 system for plotting. The raw data collected using side scan sonar and seismic profiling was provided along with the C-View programme.  Accompanying this information were maps of the interpreted seabed features and track plots of the side scan sonar and seismic profiling survey. The selection of targets was carried out in the following process:-

·               Using the detailed seabed feature plots provided, single objects, potential shipwrecks and small scatters of debris/dumped material within the study area were listed.

·               The coordinates of the targets, in Hong Kong Metric Grid, were obtained from the AutoCAD files

·               The seabed features were then overlaid with the side scan sonar track plots.

·               Where the tracks passed over the listed anomalies, the track and fix numbers were noted.

·               The track and fix numbers were matched with the corresponding .CVD files.

·               These files were examined using C-View.  Images were then obtained of the anomalies that appeared to have archaeological potential. For this assessment it has been assumed that ‘dumped material’ is cultural in nature and represents relatively large areas of seabed which are covered with demolition material resulting from construction and the like, which has been deliberately discarded on the seabed from barges.  ‘Debris’ represents a localised area of material, which may be cultural or possibly natural.  If the former is the case, such material could have been accidentally (i.e shipwreck) or deliberately (ballast, rubbish from a single vessel), deposited. The process outlined above was the same for buried anomalies.  Such targets or anomalies as were found were to be presented in the seabed features plans. In addition to viewing data collected by EGS, aerial photographs of the study area were also examined.  The reasoning for this was that it may have been possible, in the right conditions, to view submerged cultural features in the very shallow waters east of CLK Island and in Tung Chung Bay.  Two aerial photo-mosaics covering the study area were examined. The mosaics were based on   1973 and 2001 aerial photographs (Lands Department, Hong Kong Government).  It was however not possible to discern the presence of any submerged cultural features because of a number of reasons such as the angle of the sun shining on the water, wind waves, and water clarity. While a potentially useful technique for shallow water archaeological mapping, it would have required exceptional conditions for photographs taken in the last 50 years for water clarity to be at a sufficient level to allow for a successful examination and interpretation of the seabed to the east of CLK Island.

Targets and Areas of Archaeological Potential The surface anomalies – targets - represents identified potential cultural material requiring further evaluation (dive inspection).  The targets presented in this section will be accompanied by their position, in HKMG, the closest track and fix numbers, the corresponding .CVD file and approximate water depths and additional comments (Table 12-9).  Appendix 12G also provides additional information of these anomalies in the form of descriptions and side scan sonar images.  The notation of the track and fix numbers were necessary for locating the image of the target in the C-View system.  The water depths were estimated from the seabed contour maps from the EGS report.


Table 12-9     Surface Anomalies (Targets)







.CVD file















































































































N24b or c








N24b or c





Unidentified object



N24b or c








N83b or c








N84b or c













































dumped material










818000. 5






‘Unknown object’






0-1 The majority of the anomalies of archaeological potential are located in the western section of the bridge alignment (see Image 27 of Appendix 12E).  They are mostly that of discrete patches of debris up to 40 m across. The proposed bridge alignment enters HKSAR approximately 500 m to the south of a debris field composed of discrete relatively small patches of debris, one of which appears to be a recent wreck.  Target 1 is a small patch of debris an otherwise ‘clean’ expanse of seabed.  As can be expected the frequency of debris on the seabed off the west coast of Lantau decreases with distance from shore and the proposed bridge alignment passes through a small debris field about 700 m from shore. At the western entrance to the Airport Channel the frequency of debris increases. Debris located on the southern shores of CLK, within the dredged channel or the lower slopes of the batters were not assessed as anomalies of archaeological potential as they were considered to have been deposited recently. Though within the 300 m of the proposed bridge alignment, there was no examination for potential anomalies beyond the point where the bridge makes landfall on Lantau.  This is because for the most part debris and other seabed objects are located on the southern shore of CLK or in the dredged Airport Channel.  Those anomalies in the northern parts of Tung Chung Bay, south of the Airport Channel – where some possible recent wrecks were identified by EGS – will not be impacted by the proposed bridge, even with slight changes to the alignment.  The realignment of the bridge to a degree where it enters the northern un-dredged waters of Tung Chung Bay would represent a major change to the development proposal. There are a number of seabed anomalies north of where the proposed bridge alignment enters the waters to the east of CLK. One of these is a relatively large object, up to 6m in length, which is located close to the shoreline (Target 26). No buried anomalies, potentially cultural in origin, were shown on the seabed feature maps provided.  An examination of the Isopach maps also revealed that no buried anomalies were identified by EGS within the marine deposits and alluvium.  However, as noted in 12.6.66, interpretation may be limited due to natural accumulations of organic gases close to the base of the Marine Deposit stratum or emissions of raw sewerage.  These masked areas have been taken into consideration when assessing the need for a watching brief program. The proposed bridge alignment crosses unreclaimed shorelines on Lantau.  The seabed close to these crossing points were not able to be surveyed because of the shallow waters and the dangers posed to expensive equipment from partially submerged rocks.  Furthermore such seabed types make identification of cultural remains using side scan sonar images difficult.  In the absence of geophysical data the following interpretation of marine archaeological potential is provided for the near-shore areas along the North Lantau coast. Seabeds close to shorelines are a rich source of archaeological information.  Evidence associated with littoral activities such as, habitation (fishing villages) and industry are often found in the first 50 m offshore.  Remains of maritime related structures such as jetties can also be found.  Vessels striking hard objects such as shorelines mostly cause shipwrecks as a general rule.  Shipwrecks can be found in the intertidal zone and in the first 50 m from shore. The alignment also crosses a promontory at the north west corner of Lantau.  This promontory was longer but was truncated in 1995 during the construction of CLK Airport.  On the removed section of the promontory was a Late Neolithic archaeological site, Sha Lo Wan (West), excavated in 1993.  The excavation covered some 340 sq m and produced burials and an assemblage of artefacts such as pottery, stone tools, polished rings, stone weights and evidence of domestic structures.  The remaining headland has traces of Tang and Neolithic period artefacts and proximity to the excavated site (described above) suggests further archaeological potential at this site.  It is understood that the route alignment will span over this truncated promontory. The eastern side of the promontory forms a shallow embayment, which would have been more pronounced prior to 1995.  This embayment would have been relatively well protected from all winds except those blowing from the northeast.  It was well suited as an anchorage for small vessels.  Vessels could have also been dragged ashore onto the beach on the southern part of the embayment.  Cultural remains, such as jetties and material deposited from shore, associated with the Tang period could possibly be present close to the eastern and southern shores.  Artefacts from the Neolithic period could also be present.  Shipwrecks may also be present, the likelihood of their presence being more likely the result of piracy or warfare rather than adverse weather or poor navigation. The proposed alignment also skirts around some of the unreclaimed shoreline of CLK.  Archaeological evidence relating to occupation and industrial activities on the former island CLK dates back to Middle Neolithic period (7,000 B.P.).  In later periods there was evidence of a Tang Dynasty lime kiln in the northern part of the island (Sham Wan Tsuen) and Yuan Dynasty kilns on the slopes of the sole surviving original hill landscape (Ha Law Wan) in the south east of the Island.  Archaeological evidence associated with activities that have taken place on and in the immediate vicinity of CLK may be present along the rocky shoreline. The archaeological potential of the unsurveyed near-shore areas described above suggest further “target” areas for field evaluation. These are identified in Image 27 of Appendix 12E as Transects. The archaeological potential of submerged terrestrial sites appears most favourable in Sha Lo Wan and Tung Chung Bay.  It is also plausible that the phenomenon of acoustic turbidity or methane blanketing – the product of accumulation of buried organic material - common, particularly east of CLK might be part of concentrated swamp or estuarine material, If this were the case, it could be speculated that human occupation may have been associated with such a setting.

12.6.70           Impacts Evaluation     From the available information the most immediately obvious impacts of the proposed development would be the driving in of the footings into the seabed for the bridge.  This will have the effect of destroying any sites or objects of cultural heritage, in the location where the footings will be placed.     The proposed reclamation on the east coast of CLK, between the shoreline and the bridge alignment.  It is assumed that this reclamation will require the removal of Holocene sediments, at least, and their replacement with compacted fill.  It is therefore expected that any archaeological resources within the reclamation envelope would be removed.

12.6.71           Review and Requirement for Further Evaluation of Marine Archaeological Potential     In accordance with EIAO Technical Memorandum Annex 19 Clauses 2.6 to 2.9, an impact assessment is required to measure the effects of the development on sites of cultural heritage.  The Baseline Review and the analysis of the marine geophyiscal survey data did not identify any sites of cultural heritage as defined by EIAO Technical Memorandum Annex 19 Clause 2.1 (See Appendix 12B).  It was identified as follows:-

(a)              The study area has potential for both prehistoric and historic period sites of cultural heritage.

(b)              The marine geophysical survey found a number of anomalies on the seabed surface, within the shadow of the proposed bridge alignment, which may be cultural in nature and could possibly be shipwrecks. It cannot be determined from the interpretation of the survey whether these anomalies are sites/objects of significant cultural heritage. A field evaluation is therefore required.

(c)              There is a possibility that some of the identified anomalies may be impacted by the installation of the footings of the proposed bridge. Any final impact evaluation will clearly depend on both field evaluation of the anomalies (above) and detailed footing design.

(d)              The seabed immediately adjacent to the northern shore of Lantau and east coast of CLK has potential for the presence of sites or objects of significant cultural heritage.

(e)              The marine geophysical team, because of physical constraints, could not survey the seabed immediately adjacent to the northern shore of Lantau. In the absence of geophysical data, further interpretation of near-shore archaeology identified potential target areas along the north Lantau coast – to be included in the field evaluation (dive) phase.  

(f)                The proposed bridge alignment for the most part traverses across areas, which are not optimum locations for settlement in a pre-inundation landscape.  The exception to this is the ribbon of organic masking off the west coast of Lantau, which is suggestive of a possible former watercourse.  There is a relatively higher likelihood of settlements having been formed close to such a feature.

(g)              It is assessed that the narrowly confined and localised footprint of individual bridge piers will have a minimal likelihood of impacting a pre-inundation settlement buried under marine sediments.

(h)              It is assessed that the relatively small parcels of reclamation proposed on the eastern shore of the CLK will have a minimal likelihood of impacting a pre-inundation settlement buried under marine sediments.

12.6.72           Results of Visual Diver Survey     To assess the cultural heritage significance of the surface anomalies identified from the marine geophysical survey and examine areas of archaeological potential a Visual Diver Survey (VDS) was undertaken.     All 26 targets listed in Table 12-10 were inspected during the VDS conducted in April 2009.  The methodology for the VDS complies with the Guidelines for Marine Archaeological Investigation.  Key procedures of the survey are:-

Pre-VDS preparation:

Prior to the commencement of the VDS the coordinates of the targets were converted from Hong Kong Metric Grid (1980) to WGS 84.


Target location procedure:

Using a Garmin GPS 76, the sampan was directed to the target and a. buoy was dropped when the reading on the GPS it was less than 5 m from the target and the accuracy of the GPS position at the time the buoy was dropped was recorded.


Seabed circular search:


Once the buoy was dropped over the target a diver was sent down the buoy line.  The diver attached one end of a 12 m reel to the anchor/weight at the base of the buoy. The purpose of the 12 m line was to snag or catch any objects protruding from the seabed.  The diver visually examined objects snagged by the survey line.


Post search de-brief :


Upon regaining the surface the diver was questioned on what he saw.  The approximate dimensions and composition of objects were provided as well as their distance from the anchor/weight.  A description of the seabed and water visibility was also provided.     Most of the 26 targets inspected revealed only rock, modern brick and shell scatters. It was a feature of the targets inspected to the west and south of CLK that objects were encountered at about 0.15 m under soft silt.  Water visibility did not exceed 0.5 m.  Brief descriptions of the individual targets are presented in Table 12-10.

Table 12-10   Description of Surface Anomalies (Targets) from VDS




Scatter of shell


Scatter of shell and a timber fragment recently deposited – part of interior fitting of a vessel


Scatter of shell


Scatter of shell


Occasional shell


Occasional shell


Occasional shell


Occasional shell


Nothing found


Nothing found


Nothing found


Nothing found


Fishing line and small metal debris


Rock, shell and modern plywood fragment


Small concentrated scatter of rock


Two rock fragments protruding from the seabed


Nothing found


Scatter of rock


Irregular sand-waves


Rock and shell scatter


Dense concentration of shell and some rock


Dense concentration of shell and some rock


Large triton shell


Concentration of modern brick, stone and fishing line


1 x 2.5 x 1 m high steel ‘box’ or basin.


4 x 2 x 1 m high bedrock (granite) outcrop.  Square ferrous frame nearby.     Nothing of interest was found in Targets 9 to 12 and 17 is likely due to the observation that low relief objects visible to side scan sonar may in fact not protrude above the seabed in areas where there is very fine silt.  This would make the detection of such objects by divers difficult.  It is also very likely that some of the objects detected by the side scan sonar may have been mobile, such as plastics and light fragments of wood and hence had disappeared by the time of the visual diver survey.     A diver following the shoreline at a depth of 1 to 2 m inspected the areas of archaeological potential along the unreclaimed eastern shore of CLK and the eastern side of the promontory upon which the archaeological site of Sha Lo Wan (W) was sited.     The transect along the shore of CLK was abandoned after a number of apparently abandoned fishing nets were encountered amongst rock outcrops in very low water visibility conditions. Nothing of cultural heritage significance was identified.     The seabed below the low tide mark along the eastern side of the promontory upon which the archaeological site of Sha Lo Wan (W) was sited was soft silt.  This resulted in zero visibility conditions for the diver transect in this area. Nothing of cultural heritage significance was identified.

12.6.73           Assessment of Cultural Significance     The objects and artefacts identified during the VDS have no or minimal cultural significance.

12.6.74           Recommendations     Periodic monitoring at Sha Lo Wan (West) Archaeological Site is recommended. It is recommended to conduct inspection of the site every 3 months. Inspection record supplemented with site photos showing the condition of the overall archaeological site should be submitted to the AMO for record purpose.


12.7          Conclusions

Terrestrial Archaeology

12.7.1        All the bridge structure would totally avoid the Sha Lo Wan (West Archaeological Site) during both the construction and operational phases.  Hence, there will be no direct impacts.   Mitigation measures are not required and there are no residual impacts.

12.7.2        As a precautionary measure, periodic monitoring of construction works should be conducted to ensure the avoidance of any impacts on the Sha Lo Wan (West) Archaeological Site.  Access to the said archaeological site for works area and storage of construction equipment is not allowed

Built Heritage

12.7.3        Two temples, namely Hung Shing Temple and Tin Hau Temple, and an Earth Shrine are indentified in the Sha Lo Wan area, as the alignment will span over the Sha Lo Wan west headland, there will be no direct impact to any historic buildings within the area. Indirect impacts by way of visual and noise will be within acceptable limits.

12.7.4        As the alignment will span over the Sha Lo Wan west headland there will be no direct impacts on any graves within the area. As no pre-war graves were located and there are no indirect impacts.  Mitigation measures are therefore not required.

Marine Archaeology

12.7.5        Diver Survey was undertaken and nothing of cultural heritage significance was identified.  There is no need for any further investigation or mitigation measures.


12.8                    References

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12-2         Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1991 Report of the Archaeological Survey of North Lantau 北大嶼山考古調查報告

12-3         Guangzhou Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, 1998   Second Territory-wide archaeological survey of North Lantau

12-4         Territory Development Department, 1999 WP12 – Historical, Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Impact Assessment (in CE 1/97. Remaining Development in Tung Chung and Tai Ho. Comprehensive Feasibility Survey), Report No 501/22/B Prepared by Mott Connell Hong Kong

12-5         Meacham, W (ed) 1994 Chek Lap Kok Island, Journal Monograph IV, Hong Kong Archaeological Society.

12-6         Provisional Airport Authority, 1991 New Airport Master Plan – Environmental Impact Assessment.

12-7         Drewett, P L 1995 A Late Neolithic Settlement at Sha Lo Wan, Lantau Island, Hong Kong. Antiquities & Monuments Office Occasional Paper, 2.

12-8         Sun, T.W (2002 unpubl) Sha Tsui Tau, Tung Chung, Lantua Island. Archaeological Investigation.  Antiquities & Monuments Office.

12-9         Drewett, P L 1996, ‘A Tang Settlement and Qing burial site.’ Prepared for the Antiquities & Monuments Office.

12-10       Tang Chung, Shang Ezhi Tan, Wong Wan Cheung, 1997 Archaeological excavation at Pak Mong, Kaogu. Vol 6, p54 – 64

12-11       Siu Kwok-kin 1964  ‘Tung Chung FortJournal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol 4, 1964, pp 146-150

12-12       Hong Kong Museum of History and Siu Kwok-kin, 1990 Forts and Batteries, Coastal defence in Guangdong during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.

12-13       A. Liu 1990 Forts and Pirates, Hong Kong History Society.

12-14       Hydrographic Office, Marine Department Urmston Road (HK15013).  Published 2000, printed 2001 and corrections up to 2002.

12-15       Empson, H. 1992, Mapping Hong Kong.  Government Information Services

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12-19       Peacock, B.A.V. and Nixon, T.J.P.  1988 The Hong Kong Archaeological Survey: Subsurface Investigation Reports.  Antiquities & Monuments Office Occasional paper No. 1.  Government of Hong Kong.

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12-21       Fyfe, J. A., Shaw, R., Campbell, K. W. Lai & P.A. Kirk, May 2000 The Quaternary Geology of Hong Kong.  Hong Kong Geological Survey, Geotechnical Engineering Office, Civil Engineering Department, the Government of the Hong Kong SAR

12-22       Day, C. A., 2001 Reading Archaeological landscapes: Palaeoenvironments and potential in Hong Kong. Report prepared for The Lord Wilson Heritage Trust, Hong Kong Government.

12-23       Allen, P.M  and Stephens, E.A 1971 Report on Geological Survey of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Govt Printer.

12-24       Brimicombe, A.J. 1986  4000-6000 years BP, A higher relative sea-level in Hong Kong?, in Geol Soc Hong Kong Abstract no 3 1986,

12-25       Meacham, W. 1984 Prehistoric occupation and coastal development in Hong Kong in Yim, W.W-S. and Burnett, A.D. (ed) Geology of Surficial Deposits in Hong Kong, Geol Soc. Hong Kong and University of Hong Kong 1, pp169-174

12-26       Drewett, P. L.  (1995)  “A Late Neolithic Settlement at Sha Lo Wan, Lantau Island, Honk Kong.”  AMO Occasional Paper, 2.

12-27       CEDD, May 2000 Tai O Sheltered Boat Anchorage – Environmental Impact Assessment; Agreement No. CE 41/98 EIA - Final Assessment Report. Prepared by Scott Wilson

12-28       Braga, J. M 1995. China Landfall 1513. Jorge Alvares Voyage to China. A compilation of some relevant material. Macao. Imprensa Nacional

12-29       Siu Kwok-kin 1986  The Social condition of Hong Kong before and after the Coastal Evacuation in the Early Ching Dynasty. Taipei Commercial Press Publication.

12-30       Airport Authority, April 2002 Environmental Assessment Services for Permanent Aviation Fuel Facility: Environmental Impact Assessment Report. Prepared by Mouchel HK

12-31       Siu Kwok-kin and Siu Kwok-kwan, 1988. Studies on the Po-an Region, Hong KongHin Chiu Institute.

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12-34       Glasspoole, R.  1810 “A narrative of my captivity and treatment amongst the Ladrones.” Appendix in Neumann, C. F.  1831

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12-36       Guangzhou Fu Gazetteer 73 (光緒五年廣州府志卷七十三經政略四兵防)

12-37       SDA Marine, 1998 Marine Archaeology in Hong Kong.  Lord Wilson Heritage Trust

12-38       EGS (Asia) Limited, October 2004  Hong Kong Section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Connection with the North Lantau Highway: Marine Geophysical and Hydrographic Surveys – Final report.  Prepared for the Geotechnical Engineering Office.

12-39       IGGE  (Hong Kong) Engineering Geophysical Co. Ltd.  February 2008  Hong Kong Section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Connection with the North Lantau Highway: Geophysical Surveys for Enhanced Northern Alignment report.  Prepared for the Geotechnical Engineering Office.

12-40       EGS (Asia) Limited, January 2009 Tuen MunChek Lap Kok Link – Investigation, Proposed Marine Geophysical Surveys. Prepared for the Geotechnical Engineering Office.