Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) will continue building a new cutting-edge manufacturing facility in Greater Tainan, but may adjust its location after discovering what may be an archeological site at the location.
The world’s largest contract chip maker said on Monday last week that it had found pottery at the construction site of its Fab 14 Phase 5 manufacturing complex in the Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學園區).
The company said it has asked authorities in Greater Tainan to help identify whether the pottery was an archeological artifact, fearing that there might be more relics deeper down.
“If there is an archeological site underground, we will move our construction to the Phase 6 base nearby. If there is not, we will continue our construction at the Phase 5 base,” company spokesperson Elizabeth Sun (孫又文) said last week. “Even if there is another archeological site under the Phase 6 base, we still have planned bases for Phase 7 and 8 as back-ups.”
Lin Wei-hsu (林韋旭), director of the Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage, said the pottery was preliminarily identified as a relic from the Niuchoutzu Culture period, which lasted from 3,300 to 4,200 years ago.
“The culturally significant layer only seems to begin at 6 meters deep, so we will ask TSMC to dig down to 5.5 meters, and then allow us to dig out the artifacts first,” Lin said.
“Once we’ve collected all of the artifacts from the site, TSMC will be able to dig down to 10 meters as originally planned,” he said.
The Tainan section of the Southern Taiwan Science Park has an area of just over 1,000 hectares, according to the park administration bureau. Because it is part of the Chianan Plain and sits between the Tsengwen and Yenshui rivers, archeological sites in the region are buried deep underground and are not easy to find, the bureau said.
Since 1995, about 66 archeological sites have been found in the park, with excavations conducted at 31 sites and the others kept intact as natural landscapes, it added.
The artifacts in the park yielded from these sites are from 200 years to 4,800 years old and have been chronologically divided into six phases: Tapenkeng Culture (4,200 to 4,800 years ago), Niuchoutzu Culture (4,200 to 3,300 years ago), Tahu Culture (3,300 to 1,800 years ago), Niansung Culture (1,800 to 500 years ago), Siraya Culture (500 to 300 years ago) and Han culture (since 300 years ago).