National Museum of Archeology to open in southern Taiwan

The museum will open on Saturday and showcase 500 items of historical interest, some dating back 5,000 years

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A clay item at the National Museum of Archeology (CNA photo)

A clay item at the National Museum of Archeology (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The National Museum of Archeology (NMA), a branch of the Museum of Prehistory, will open in Tainan on Saturday (Oct. 19), exhibiting 500 relics that date back as far as 5,000 years.

The branch museum is on a 6-acre site in Southern Taiwan Science Park. After having taken more than a decade to plan and construct, the NMA will hold its official opening this weekend, with free admission for all visitors.

While the Museum of Prehistory in Taitung stores finds from archeological sites around the country, the NMA preserves and showcases finds unearthed in the Southern Taiwan Science Park area, said NMP Director Wang Chang-hua (王長華). He was speaking at a press conference in Taipei on Tuesday (Oct. 15).

The 500 items on show have been selected from 8 to 10 million items discovered at nearly 60 archeological sites close to the science park, according to the museum. Some of the exhibits date back 5,000 years during the later period of the Neolithic Age.

The carbonized rice unearthed at Tapenkeng Culture’s archeological site in Shanhua District, is believed to be 4,300-5,000 years old. It could be the earliest artificially cultivated rice in Taiwan, said the museum, adding that it shows that ancient cultures were able to farm rather than rely solely on hunting and gathering food.

Another object, a human-faced clay decoration, is believed to have been created between 1,300 and 1,800 years ago and is part of the Niao-Sung Culture, located in today’s Xinshi District. The work has clear facial features, with a straight nose and braided hair, providing a clue as to how people looked in those days.

The NMA is designed by acclaimed Taiwanese architect Kris Yao (姚仁喜), whose previous projects include the Lanyang Museum in Yilan and the Taiwan Traditional Theater Center in Taipei. Yao said his design explores the relationship of time and space.

The construction has two sets of axes, one to the archeological sites, and the other following the modern city grid, said Yao. The museum has been built next to the Taiwan High Speed Rail tracks and visitors can watch the trains speed by, behind large sheets of thick glass.

▶︎ Taiwan architect Kris Yao (left). The National Museum of Archeology will open in Tainan on Oct. 19. (CNA photo)