The fate of most of the relics unearthed during work on the Sha Tin-Central railway link will be decided after archaeologists have finished excavating in September, the government says.
But Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po did say yesterday that a Song dynasty well discovered on the site of the planned To Kwa Wan station would be preserved in situ.
The government would decide what to do with other relics - including another well described as "not intact" - when excavation work is completed by the third quarter, Chan said.
He added the Antiquities Advisory Board and Antiquities and Monuments Office would be consulted. Some of the relics had already been moved elsewhere so that archaeologists could dig deeper, he said.
The discovery - one of the largest archaeological finds in Hong Kong - could delay the rail link's scheduled 2018 completion date after construction was halted near the site in December to allow archaeologists to investigate. That stoppage would continue to allow archaeologists to work, Chan said yesterday.
The MTR Corporation plans to resume work in areas where archaeological excavation has been completed. It said measures would be taken to protect the relics during construction work.
Chan said he understood concerns about both preserving the relics and progress on the rail link.
"Excavation work is our top priority, but as far as is practical, there's no need to slow down construction of the rail link."
Polytechnic University transport analyst Dr Hung Wing-tat, also a member of the Conservancy Association, said the office had not been transparent enough in providing information.