The renovation of a 100-year-old elementary school in Taipei is expected to be completed by the end of this year after the construction was temporarily shut down amid concerns over the conservation of artifacts dating from 4,500 years ago that were discovered at the school.
The Taipei Dalong Elementary School renovation project was part of a plan to establish the Datong Culture Park in Datong District (大同), which will bring together Baoan Temple, Dalong Elementary School and the Confucian Temple into one cultural park.
The Taipei City Government budgeted more than NT$800 million (US$ 27.7 million) for the renovations in 2005, but called for an immediate halt to the construction in 2007 when an archeologist dug out some broken pottery pieces that dated from the Hsuntangpu Culture (訊塘埔文化), a prehistoric people who lived in Taiwan in the mid-Neolithic period about 4,500 years ago.
It is the second-oldest culture whose archeological remnants have been found in Taipei, after the Tapenkeng Culture (大坌坑文化), which dates back about 5,000 years.
The city government resumed the construction last year after the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs completed the preservation of the artifacts.
Inspecting the construction site yesterday, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday defended the city government’s efforts to preserve historical remains, and promised to offer a safer and better environment for students at the school after the renovation project was completed.
According to school principal Chen Chin-yi (陳清義), more than 800 students will move into the renovated buildings after winter break next year. About 200 students from nearby Minglun Elementary School will also move into the new buildings after the two schools merge next year.
The historical remains were sent to Tainan for final authentication. Chen said the school plans to put the remains in an old classroom and turn it into an exhibition room for educational purposes.
Other prehistoric archeological sites in Taipei are from the Chihshanyen Culture (芝山岩文化) and Yuanshan Culture (圓山文化) from the late Neolithic period.
The cultural department said prehistoric residents of the Taipei basin had lived in Dalongdong and had later moved to the Chihshanyen and Yuanshan sites.