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Revealing a maritime cultural landscape of Hong Kong: The Sai Kung case study

ABSTRACT

Hong Kong island is located in Southern China at the mouth of the Pearl River. Its coastal location down river from the significant port-city of Guangzhou (formerly Canton), is strategically located in the trade route known as the Maritime Silk Road, the 2,000-year-old trade between China, Southeast Asia, India and Arabia. It was because of this trade that the waters and islands at the Pearl River mouth were frequented by many nations, and where the Portuguese had their port-city, Macau from 1557, and the British were based on Hong Kong island from 1842. Over the next 60 years, the British leased further surrounding territories and the arrangement eventually led to the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, hereafter called the Hong Kong region. A significant maritime cultural landscape was built up, which included sites from earlier periods. An example of this maritime cultural landscape can be seen in the Sai Kung (eastern) district of the Hong Kong region. Many ships travelled along this coastline between the northern China ports and Guangzhou, and a number of coastal facilities were established. Beginning in 2009, a group of Hong Kong residents (Hong Kong Underwater Heritage Group) implemented a series of maritime archaeological projects in the Sai Kung district in collaboration with the Hong Kong Maritime Museum (HKMM). The results of this work can be seen in three maritime archaeology survey and excavation projects implemented from 2014 to 2017, including the discovery of a 1,000-yearold underwater cultural heritage (UCH) site. They complement the many coastal cultural heritage in the Sai Kung district to reveal its maritime cultural landscape.

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