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Students discover 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s Hualien

National Tsing Hua University interns stumble upon ancient jewelry during field trip

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Students discover a 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s Hualien. (Facebook, Hualien Archaeological Museum photo)

Students discover a 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s Hualien. (Facebook, Hualien Archaeological Museum photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two students from National Tsing Hua University, on their inaugural day of internship at the Hualien Archaeological Museum, uncovered a remarkable jade ornament dating back thousands of years.

The discovery, made on a farmland archaeological site in Hualien on Wednesday (Jan. 31), adds a unique chapter to Taiwan's heritage.

The broken zoo-anthropomorphic jade ornament is 2.9 cm in height and 1.5 cm in width. Despite the upper part being missing, experts identified it as crafted from a type of nephrite indigenous to Taiwan. The relic, believed to be approximately 2,700 years old, showcases the intricate craftsmanship of its time.

Museum director Wen Meng-wei (溫孟威) noted that while such ornaments were typically used as earrings, this broken piece seemed to have been repurposed as a necklace after sustaining damage. The hypothesis is based on the presence of a hole in the ornament, per CNA.

Zoo-anthropomorphic jade ornaments are partly or wholly composed of conflated human and animal forms. They indicated prestige during the Neolithic Period (7,000-1,700 BCE) in Taiwan and were a rarity. The find in Hualien contributes to the 40 unearthed pieces in Taiwan, with five destined for display at the Hualien Archaeological Museum.

One of the students involved in the discovery, surnamed Lin (林), described the moment when she spotted the ornament "half buried" in the eastern Taiwan archaeological site. She said her instinctual recognition of the treasure aligned with what she had learned from textbooks, making the find a fortunate and educational experience.

Students discover 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s Hualien
Students discover a 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s Hualien. (Facebook, Hualien Archaeological Museum photo)

Students discover 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s HualienStudents discover a 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s Hualien. (Facebook, Hualien Archaeological Museum photo)

Students discover 2,700-year-old jade ornament in Taiwan’s Hualien
National Tsing Hua University interns stumble upon ancient jade jewelry during field trip. (Facebook, NTHU Archaeology photo)