Preliminary Report on Trial Excavation at Wong Tei Tung Archaeological Site, Sham Chung, Hong Kong SAR
WU Wei-hong1, WANG Hong2,TAN Hui-zhong 2,3,ZHANG Zhen-hong2(1.Hong Kong Archaeological Society;2.Centre for Lingnan Archaeology of Zhongshan University,Guangzhou 510275;3.Guangzhou Institute of Geography, Guangzhou 510070)
The Wong Tei Tung(Huangditong) archaeological site of Sham Chung(Shengchong)was discovered by Mr. Huang Hu and Mr. Wu Weihong in spring, 2003. The site is situated at the northern shore of the Sai King Peninsula, on the eastern part of the Hong Kong SAR, China. To the east to the site,there is a hill named Wong Tei Tung (154 m height). The site faces to a bay, namely Three Fathoms Cover to the west. Hong Kong Archaeology Society and the Centre for Lingnan Archaeology of Zhongshan University in Guangzhou conducted a trial excavation at the site during late 2004 to early 2005,funded by the Hong Kong SAR Government.Large quantities of lithic artifacts are exposed both at the surface on the pebble beach and the western slope, the extent of lithic exposing area on the pebble beach is about 300 m long and at height of 15 m up the slope. Many lithics found at underwater also indicate the site was much larger than before, sea reached the present level since 6000 BP.The bedrock of the site is mudstone and siltstone observed at soil profile of test pits and auger holes. The bedrock is overlaid by the silicon tuff in dark grey to black colour; an outcrop stands at western slope at height of 40 m to 50 m,facing the sea. Such silicon tuff provides sufficient and high-quality raw materials for lithic manufacturing.Around 75000 BP, a glacial maximum had reached and sea level had fallen to about 77 m lower than at present. The last glaciation at Late Pleistocene commenced about 25000 BP, reaching a maximum at about 18000 BP to 17000 BP , with the sea level at its lowest at this time, falling to around -120 m or -130 m. Three Fathoms Cover became a river valley and it is presumed that ancient people inhabited in the site during this time. The site is situated at an underwater river terrace of at least 40 meters to 100 meters wide that face a river branch running into Tolo Hatbour and Mirs Bay of northeastern Hong Kong SAR. According to marine chart, an underwater terrace was found in front of the site at present depth of less than 5 m.It is a hint that ancient people had occupied the terrace before the sea reached present level since 6000 BP. Three squares (two 5 m×10 m and one 10 m×10 m) were enclosed both at pebble beach and slope for surface artifacts density counting. A total of five test pits had been dug both on pebble beach (T1 and T2) and hill slope (T3 to T5). The lithics are unearthed in four test pits (T1 to T4) except T5. T5 is located at a slope terrace not far from a stream, because the ancient people could have chosen that terrace. No pottery had been found in test pits (T3 to T5) of slope.Five strata (L1-L5) are identified containing substantial quantity of chucks, core, flakes, debitages, and lithic tools both in T3 and T4 at slope. L6 is a weathered bedrock without lithics. Over 3600 lithics were found both in pebble beach and test pits. A total of 156 pieces of lithic are classified into nine categories artifacts after preliminary examination, these are adze-like lithic (or short axe, 5769%), scraper(1602%), point(897%), hand-axe(biface 576%), chopper(512%), arrow-like lithic(192%), awl-like lithic(192%), pick(128%) and burin(128%).Almost all lithics were made on thick transverse flakes (used as blanks) and are identified as flake tools. The techniques adopted were bifacally sophisticated retouch at edges of flakes (Mousterian-like), few cores being identified as prepared platform cores indicating Levalloisian technology. In terms of morphology, a few lithics have Sumatralith core's traits. According to blades or flake-blades identified in the Wong Tei Tung assemblage, we suggest that the techniques of Late Paleolithic Age to Early Neolithic Age have been adopted for the assemblage.Debitages, waste flakes, blades, cores, nodules and chucks were also discovered both on surface and test pits which help to re-construct the entire lithic manufacture progress. Such finding provides a clue and indicates Wong Tei Tung was an ancient lithic manufacturing workshop.L1 to L3 of T4 at slope had been dated to 1938 BP, 2848 BP and 6800 BP respectively, L4 and L5 dated to 39000 BP and 35000 BP respectively by the OSL dating; such datings and stratum are correlating to Fanling Formation of Holocene and Chek Lap Kok Formation of Late Pleistocene stratigraphy respectively.According to the lithic techniques, morphology, OSL dating and stratigraphy,a preliminary conclusion can be drawn on the finds. There are two periods, the early period dating back to 40000 BP and later period to 7000 BP.Although, few traits of Wong Tei Tung assemblage were found similar to Southeast Asia lithics, especially, according to morphology, short axe and Sumatralith cores. We couldn't simply trace them to Hoabinhian, because a lithic assemblage resulted in inter-action between environment and human adaptation, Wong Tei Tung offers a glimpse lithic manufacturing in adaptation of a certain environment. In the initial stage, we suggest that the assemblage is a lithic cluster of certain “techno-complex” rather than an archaeological culture.