After a visit to an archeological site that held the nation’s oldest human remains, Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) said yesterday her ministry would work with the Ministry of National Defense to excavate and preserve cultural heritage in the country.
The site on Liangdao (亮島) has not been compromised because it was in a prohibited military zone, Lung said during a trip to Matsu.
In April, an archeological team announced the discovery of the skull and other bones of an ancient man on Liangdao, one of several islets in the Matsu archipelago.
The government sent the bones to the US for analysis, which confirmed that the skeleton was about 8,300 years old. They are the oldest human remains discovered in the area extending from Hangzhou Bay in the East China Sea to the Vietnam coast.
Lung said that as relations between Taiwan and China continue to warm, other Cold War military zones would open up.
Her ministry would work closely with the defense ministry to ensure that these precious cultural assets “gain the respect they deserve and are preserved as they should be,” Lung said.
Public access to Liangdao was strictly prohibited until last year when a ceremony was held there to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) army’s arrival on the island.
On that occasion, Lienchiang County Commissioner Yang Sui-sheng (楊綏生) noticed what looked like seashell mounds along the roadside and informed Academia Sinica, which later sent an archeological team that uncovered the remains.
Jonas Chen, who led the team, said the skeleton was discovered under one of the seashell mounds that went 40cm underground.