Pingtan Keqiutou Archaeological Site Park, a New Business Card of Cultural Tourism

Updated: November 7, 2019 Source: Belt and Road Portal
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Recently, the Chinese Government Website ( released the list of the eighth batch of key cultural relic protection units in China (hereinafter referred to as "national protection units"), among which the site group of Keqiutou in Pingtan was included. The news has instantly gone viral in the circle of friends.

Pingtan Keqiutou site, which is archaeologically identified as the place where the history of Fuzhou ancestors started, is the earliest site found in the coastal area of Fujian Province, and also one of the earliest Neolithic sites found in the west coast of Taiwan Strait.

Keqiutou site group is located between Shanxianmei village and Jianhu village in Supingpian area. From south to north, it includes three sites: Keqiutou site, Donghuaqiu site and Guishan site, with a total area of over 160,000 square meters.

In 1958, Keqiutou cultural site was found in the general survey of Fujian Province; in September 1985, the archaeological team of Fujian Museum carried out excavation; in January 1989, it was renamed as "Keqiushan site". After An Zhimin, a famous Chinese archaeologist, inspected the site, he suggested that it should be named as "Keqiutou culture". On March 26, 1991, the "Keqiutou site" was awarded "Provincial Cultural Relics Protection Unit" by the People’s Government of Fujian Province.

In 2004, the Sino-US joint archaeological team, which was composed of Fujian Museum, Bishop Museum of Hawaii and the Department of Anthropology of the University of Hawaii, carried out a month-long excavation work, with many surprises, at the site of Keqiutou. Donghuaqiu site and Guishan site were discovered in 2015 and 2016, which proves that Pingtan has large Bronze-age settlement sites.

In 2016, Barry Rolett, a professor of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Hawaii in the United States and an archaeologist, came along with the archaeological team of the Fujian Provincial Museum for investigation. "The archaeological sites and cultural relics unearthed here show the connection between Pingtan and the Pacific Islands. The archaeological community has also confirmed that Keqiutou site group in Pingtan is the oldest archaeological site along the coast of Fujian Province." Rolett said so during the investigation of Guishan site.

In November 2017, the International South Island language Group Archaeological Research Base was established, becoming the first international South Island language group archaeological research institution in China, which is dedicated to the prehistoric archaeological investigation, excavation and research on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

In April 2018, Xiamen University established an archaeological practice base here, which was settled to carry out archaeological excavation. In October 2018, the People's Government of Fujian Province announced the list and protection scope of the ninth batch of provincial-level protection units of cultural relics. The ancestral hall back mountain site, Donghuaqiu site and Guishan site of Pingtan were selected as the protection units of ancient sites and cultural relics. In January 2019, Keqiutou Archaeological Heritage Park was selected in the first batch of provincial-level archaeological heritage park. Nine months later, the site group of Keqiutou in Pingtan won this title of "national protection unit".

"Fujian Institute of Archaeology has never stopped the research on the site group of Keqiutou in Pingtan. In particular, in 2014 and 2015, the team from the Institute carried out field archaeological exploration in Pingtan and found over 14 pre-Qin sites." Fan Xuechun was a former senior researcher of Fujian Provincial Museum, and he currently serves as head of Pingtan International South Island language Group Archaeology Institute.

Up to now, 26 prehistoric sites have been found in Pingtan Island, covering the period from Paleolithic to Shang and Zhou, thus forming a relatively complete prehistoric culture pedigree. The development trajectory of Lan Island in the past thousands of years is gradually outlined.

Keqiutou site group not only connects Pingtan with the wider world, but also ushers in a new era of archaeological exploration in Pingtan. For Pingtan, it is undoubtedly an appealing business card to introduce the local culture.

"The Keqiutou site in Pingtan is the earliest Neolithic site found in Fujian Province, which is about 6,500-5,500 years ago." Zhang Wenjie, deputy director and associate professor of the Department of History of Xiamen University, said. The time-honored culture of Keqiutou shall be inherited through protection and development, so that both Pingtan's nature and culture can flourish, and a variety of tourism forms can be created, thus furthering the development of the international tourism island.

It is worth mentioning that the tracing of origin of the South Island language group also plays an important role in enhancing our cultural soft power in the countries and regions along the “Belt and Road”. "We plan to introduce schools or institutions such as School of Geographical Sciences of Fujian Normal University, School of Architecture of Fuzhou University, College of Architecture and Urban Planning of Fujian University of Technology, and THUPDi of Tsinghua University, etc. into the International South Island Language Group Archaeology Research Base, and establish practice and scientific research bases in the base." According to the relevant person in charge of the social affairs bureau of the experimental area, Pingtan, using the role of archaeological work as a bridge, plans to build an exchange platform for experts at home and abroad to study the origin and spread of the international South Island language group, the prehistoric cultural relations between Fujian and Taiwan, and other major topics.

Editor: 张广琳