Archaeological Work

    Archaeological Work in Macao

    Unearthing an archaeological artefact
    Unearthing an archaeological artefact

    Piece-plotting of artefacts with a total station
    Piece-plotting of artefacts with a total station

    It has been more than 40 years since Macao’s archaeological works commenced in 1972, if the fieldwork conducted at Coloane at that time was taken as the first instance of archaeological investigation. In July 1972, Leal Senado, the city council of Macao at the time, invited amateur archaeologists from the Hong Kong Archaeological Society to conduct a field survey on Coloane Island. This marked the first archaeological investigation conducted in Macao. Since then, the Hac Sa (South) site in Coloane has undergone a series of excavation projects (1973, 1977, 1985 1994 and 1995) that uncovered plenty of remnants, which manifested the existence of human activities in Coloane as early as 6,000 years ago. Moreover, before and throughout the 1990s, the Cultural Institute of Macao carried out an extensive archaeological project at the site of the former St. Paul’s College and Mount Fortress, a vitally important work accomplished prior to Macao’s handover.

     

    Since Macao’s handover, archaeological research has continued to intensify, with the Government's support, leading to the discovery of new archaeological sites on Macao Peninsula, and in Taipa and Coloane. The major projects undertaken after 1999 include the 'Site of the Stone Structure at the Underground Chamber of the Municipal Council Building' (2004-2005) located in the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History; the 'Archaeological Survey in Coloane' (2006-2007); the 'Archaeological Investigation and Excavation Project of the Ruins of St. Paul’s College',  for which members of the Institute of Archaeology under the Chinese Academy of Social Science were invited (2010-2012); the 'Excavation Project in No. 80, Rua das Estalagens' (2012-2015); and the 'Archaeological Project in Rua do Estaleiro in Coloane' (2014-2016), among others.

     

    The  archaeological works undertaken in Macao are in a developing stage, reflecting the efforts and commitment made to safeguard Macao’s precious archaeological heritage, to raise people's awareness for the importance of archaeological research and to disseminate, among the local residents, the historical and cultural legacy of the place they are living in. The Macao Cultural Heritage Protection Law that took effect on March 1th, 2014, offers solid support to Macao’s archaeological undertakings by including a chapter focused on 'Archaeological Heritage' and its legal protection, a step which is, in itself, a milestone in Macao’s cultural heritage safeguarding work.

    Overview of Archaeological Work in Macao

    Year

    Description

    Local Organizer

    1972

    Archaeological surface surveys were carried out for the first time in Macao. Archaeological artefacts were collected in the area of Cheoc Van, Hac Sa (South), Hac Sa (North), Coloane Village, and in Ka Ho. (all sites are located in the island of Coloane)

    Leal Senado

    1973

    Archaeological survey at the site of Hac Sa ( Coloane )

    Leal Senado

    1977

    Archaeological excavation at the site of Hac Sa ( Coloane )

    Leal Senado

    1985

    Archaeological excavation at the site of Hac Sa ( Coloane )

    Leal Senado

    1988-1992

    Archaeological excavations in the ruins of St.Paul's College and Mount Fortress ( Macao )

    Cultural Institute of Macao

    1994-1995

    Archaeological investigations in Taipa and Coloane ( Taipa and Coloane ) Archaeological excavation at the site of Hac Sa  ( Coloane )

    Macao Foundation

    1995-1996

    Archaeological excavations in the ruins of St.Paul's College and Mount Fortress ( Macao )

    Cultural Institute of Macao

    2004-2005

    Archaeological excavation at the underground chamber of the Municipal Council Building ( Taipa )

     Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau

    2006

    Archaeological excavation at the site of Hac Sa ( Coloane )

    Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau

    2006-2007

    Archaeological survey in Coloane ( Coloane )

    Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau

    2010-2012

    Archaeological excavation at the site of St.Paul's College ( Macao )

    Cultural Affairs Bureau

    2012-2013

    Archaeological investigations in Rua do Estaleiro, in Coloane ( Coloane )

    Cultural Affairs Bureau

    2012-2015

    Archaeological excavation in Rua das Estalagens n.º 80 ( Macao )

    Cultural Affairs Bureau

    2014-2016

    Archaeological project of Rua do Estaleiro in Coloane ( Coloane )

    Cultural Affairs Bureau

       


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