Ancient pottery from the site of the planned To Kwa Wan railway station gives a rare glimpse into everyday life during the Southern Song (1127-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties, according to an expert.
While most attention on the Kowloon City site of the Sha Tin-Central MTR link has focused on built structures, Professor Peter Lam Yip-keung, a retired director of Chinese University's Art Museum, yesterday gave a public lecture on the ceramics that have been uncovered.
Thousands of items have been unearthed at the 23,000 square metre site. Lam inspected the relics at the invitation of the Antiquities and Monuments Office.
After comparing the Kowloon City finds with pottery previously unearthed in other parts of China and Asia, he concluded that they were makes from Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangxi.
The discoveries provided evidence of Hong Kong's trade with these four areas, he said.
Products for everyday use - including bowls and jars - and for burial, religious ceremonies and trade were identified in the find.
"It has been documented that Hong Kong had become a transport hub since the Tang dynasty [618-907]," Lam said. "Tuen Mun was an outport of Guangzhou, and Fat Tong Mun [in Sai Kung] was a transit point for Fujian and Zhejiang ships entering Guangdong. The finds at the [former] Sacred Hill site are mostly related to trade," he said.
A pair of intact incense burners dating back to the late Song or Yuan dynasty was among the discoveries, Lam added.
Eaves tiles from the same period have also been found, proving the existence of buildings with tile roofs in the present Kai Tak area.
Pointing to the significance of the latest dig, Lam said: "The scale and variety of ceramics dating back to the late Southern Song and Yuan dynasties found at Sacred Hill is unprecedented."