Salvage archaeology refers to archaeological survey and excavation carried out in advance of new construction or other land development in order to preserve those data and materials from a site in danger of imminent destruction. Taiwan is a small island with dense population and development, and the local scholars have been exhausted from rescuing the archaeological sites. On June 30th 1980, the day before the commencement of South-link Line railway construction, a large number of slates, remains and artifacts were accidentally unearthed during the land clearance for the new station. The Peinan Site salvage excavation was therefore initiated and considered the first case and by far the largest in scale in the history of Taiwan's archaeology. It not only brought about the establishment of a national museum, but also paved the way for the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act in Taiwan.
This exhibition focuses on the beginning and most hustling phase of the salvage excavation of Peinan Site from 1980 to 1982. The so-called "salvage archaeology" was initiated for the first time in Taiwan thanks to the joint efforts from local cultural fields, academics, and the media, under the circumstances of slow engineering execution, looting and illicit trade, and budget delay. As a matter of fact, the civic consciousness of preserving archaeological and cultural heritage had been developed in Taitung before the Peinan Site incident due to its geographical significance. This exhibition retrospects the intricate relationships among the involved figures through the archives, press photos and articles, which represents an important lesson the Peinan Site had offered to Taiwan's civil society.
媒體發掘 Media Coverage
On June 30th 1980, the day before the commencement ceremony of South-link Line for the new Taitung Station, the whole society was overwhelmed by the advancement of Taiwan's infrastructure construction. TRA (Taiwan Railway Administration) did not notice that the site was classified as a third-rank national historic site one year before, and continued the land clearance until a large number of slate objects, bones, jade and pottery being dug out and devastatingly ruined. The ceremony remained the next day and the incident was then brought to the public's attention by the local journalists two weeks later, which aroused more media coverage. In the early 80s with the awakening of localism, the latest updates of Peinan Site were constantly brought to the public via newspapers and magazines, forming the public opinions and drawing attention from the whole society. It has become the pioneer of salvage archaeology in Taiwan, and the credit goes to the local young journalists.
聯合報 1980年6月30日 頭版新聞
怪手與守護者 Excavators and Gatekeepers
Two official documents presented in this area accounted for the efforts and strategies made by the Taitung County Government and the Anthropology Department of NTU (National Taiwan University) to preserve the Peinan Site. The collaboration had been made long before the incident due to the rich archaeological sites discovered in Taitung. When the incident was revealed, the decade-long concerns and awareness were further developed among the local governments and residents, who became the important gatekeepers of Peinan Site and cooperated counterparts for the academics. Students were also assigned to the archaeological excavation teams in need. They worked hand in hand with locally hired workers and volunteers to operate the salvage excavation. The impact of the press not only kept attracting visitors, but also drew profit-oriented traders, and according to the documents, illicit trading was quite thriving. The TRA excavators, illegal looters, and the NTU archaeological team formed a unique spectacle on the Peinan Site during the years from 1980 to 1982.
附件 - 東縣鐵路拓寬卑南新站址與卑南文化保護區示意圖
一九八〇之外 Beyond Year 1980
Neither 1980 was the first time when relics were salvaged on the Peinan Site, nor the National Museum of Prehistory was established simply due to such an incident. In the early 1945, with the fear of the irretrievable damage to the site, KANASEKI Takeo and KOBUKU Naoichi conducted private archaeological excavations during the time of the U.S. air raid. The video in the following area demonstrates a Japanese sound artist, mamoru's attempt to represent the contextual background in 1945, with connection to his in situ investigation. In 1967, Liyu Hill Site was exposed owing to the building work of Longfeng Temple; in 1968, archaeologists conducted excavation on Baxiandong Site and convened a cross-disciplinary research project in Eastern Taiwan one year later. The Taitung County Government had demanded for an archaeology museum for many years, and it was not approved until 1980 due to the discovery of the Peinan Site. The museum was once considered to be located in the Zhiben amusement park in the 80s, a land development project which was never fulfilled.
About a decade after the Peinan Site incident, conflicts between the preservation of Shisanhang Site and local development broke out; 30 years later, the controversy of Hanben Site over the salvage archaeology and transport infrastructure construction continued the debate. Although the Shisanhang Site was eventually destroyed, the second archaeology museum in Taiwan was established on that site thanks to the efforts across all sectors. Nevertheless, the Hanben Site was immediately enlisted as one of the national archaeological sites through the intervention of elected representatives and citizen groups. The Peinan Site incident in the 80s has constantly influenced many other sites on this island. It was not only a starting point, but also the most classic case for salvage archaeology in Taiwan.
We melt them and pour it on the ground (2020, artist: mamoru)
策展 : 黃郁倫｜展覽設計 : Peter Chen｜視覺設計 : 高雪娟｜黑白攝影 : 陳嘉信｜執行製作 : 品文設計
協力 : 新北市立十三行博物館、國立臺灣大學圖書館特藏組、公共電視文化事業基金會、中華電視股份有限公司、聯合線上股份有限公司、mamoru、陳嘉信、高筱慧、韓旭東、黃國恩、康芸甯、李麗雲、林佳靜、林建成、林慎孜、林頌恩、屈慧麗、王勁之、王強、王嵩山、吳漢成、吳小純、夏麗芳、楊淑玲、姚書宇、葉長庚、葉美珍、曾世聰、張靜婷、鍾光華 （依姓名羅馬拼音排列）
翻譯 : 李莉莉、Peter Chen