Settlement at Disney site '4,000 years old'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 January, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 January, 2000, 12:00am

Neolithic relics unearthed at Penny's Bay on Lantau Island suggest organised human activities on the future Disneyland site date back 4,000 years.

'We cannot conclude what kind of settlement it was, but . . . there must have been organised human activities there during the late new Stone Age,' Antiquities and Monuments Office curator (archaeology) Chau Hing-wah said.

Latest excavations by the office found dozens of porcelain shards scattered around the northwest boundary of the proposed Disneyland site. The office also carried out a marine archaeology survey in October, uncovering a handful of porcelain shards.

A final excavation will be needed if the Government decides to include the 1,000-square-metre archaeology site in the proposed Disneyland site.

Mr Chau said the site could be larger, with part lying under the privately owned Cheoy Lee Shipyard.

The Disneyland project is awaiting an environmental assessment report.

The curator urged the Government to spare the ancient site from development.

'Large-scale construction work should be avoided. I hope the future Disneyland will not cover that area, or some priceless historic pieces will be damaged,' he said. 'From an archaeological point of view, we prefer to leave the site intact pending future excavation when technology is more advanced to better detect and preserve relics.' Mr Chau said building a small park on top of the site would be an ideal way to spare the relics.

Apart from neolithic porcelain shards, several archaeological excavations in the 1980s and early 1990s found Penny's Bay has the SAR's largest collection of relics dating from the Ming dynasty.