Ancient undersea walls discovered off Penghu coast

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Nov 26, 2002 - Page 2

Details about an undersea site reportedly containing ancient city walls more than 10,000 years old will soon be unveiled as the government announced its support for an exploratory project yesterday.

Huang Yung-chuan (黃永川), deputy director of the National Museum of History, announced the project in a press conference.

The site, located between Hsichi island (西吉嶼) and Tungchi island (東吉嶼), which belong to Penghu County, has attracted the attention of a group of experienced divers since August because of local legend regarding an undersea temple.

"After numerous attempts, we finally discovered the stone walls at the northeast side of Tungchi island at the end of September," said Steve Shieh (謝新曦), chairman of the Chinese Dolphin Diving Club.

"These stone walls are on average 1m high and 50cm wide. They are about 100m long. Our water sonar date revealed there are about five such stone walls at the site," said Shieh.

The Public Television Service Foundation (PTSF) deployed a team to the archeological site to shoot film of the walls.

"When I was examining the stone walls, I found heaps of coral pieces and pebbles at the leeward sides of the walls. These could hardly be natural accumulations," said Ke Chin-yuan (柯金源), an editor from PTSF.

Huang said the accumulation of coral pieces and pebbles is only one piece of evidence proving the stone walls may have been built by humans.

"The walls are very straight and only 50cm wide. It is extremely rare for natural forces to form such straight and thin walls," Huang said.

Huang said these walls could even have been built about 10,000 years ago.

Tian Wen-miin (田文敏), associated professor from the National Sun Yat-sen University's department of marine environment, presented three sonar graphs in the press conference.

"These sonar graphs show the seabed around the site is very even. However, at near the stone walls there are many regular protrusions that look like alleys, staircases, walls and stages," Tian said.