Lecture - Piecing Together Sha Po: Archaeological Investigations & Landscape Reconstruction - Dr. Mick Atha & Dr. Kennis Yip

  • Centre for Visual Arts 7a Kennedy Road Hong Kong Island Hong Kong

We will present the findings of our synthetic research at Sha Po on Lamma Island, but also, we hope, offer useful and meaningful insights into the process by which we came to recognise and then attempted to unlock the site’s enormous research potential. Initially our involvement was through practical engagement as field archaeologists, but subsequently the bulk of our effort was focused on the analysis and interpretation of the site’s huge and diverse archaeological archive, which had mostly been gathered by others.

Early on we recognised that if we were to do justice to that rich resource, we would need to invest a significant amount of our time and find some serious funding to support the research and publication of the results. We were therefore incredibly fortunate that the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust were able to generously support the project and wholeheartedly ‘bought into’ our overriding goal of sharing our findings with the widest possible scholarly and general readership. In effect, we attempted to write two books in one: a scholarly work of synthesis and interpretation, and an accessible, richly-illustrated book for readers with a more general interest in Hong Kong’s history and archaeology.

Our presentation will follow two interwoven narratives: one being a historiographical account of Sha Po’s incremental discovery in terms of Hong Kong’s wider history of archaeological work, and the second being a multi-period social landscape narrative that we hope will help ‘bring to life’ the succession of communities that inhabited ancient Sha Po and, by extension, the wider coastal region of Hong Kong. A selection of Sha Po’s ‘star finds’ will also be presented at the end of the talk.

The Speakers

Mick Atha is a UK-trained field archaeologist, university lecturer, and editor who has been based in Hong Kong for over nine years. Since 2011 he has taught in the Department of Anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, delivering courses on Hong Kong archaeology, archaeological field methods, and landscape studies. Kennis Yip studied field archaeology in the UK and has worked for an archaeological consultancy firm in Hong Kong since 1999.

As well as working together on the Sha Po research, Mick and Kennis are both Hong Kong licensed archaeologists and have collaborated on various archaeological research projects. These have included the geophysical survey and excavation of a Tang dynasty cemetery at San Tau on Lantau Island and, most recently, the survey and excavation of a Han dynasty coastal settlement on Yim Tin Tsai island near Sai Kung, which also served as a training dig for CUHK undergraduates following the archaeology minor programme.

They are married with a daughter and live near Sha Po on Lamma Island.

Co-ordinator: Mr. Michael Broom

Time: Reception desk opens at 6:30 pm; talk starts 7:00 pm

Admission: RAS Members $100; Non-Members / Guests $150

Booking: Please email membership@royalasiaticsociety.org.hk in advance to reserve your place and pay at the door