Local youth group Macau Youth Dynamics and grassroots lawmaker Antonio Ng Kuok Cheong Monday urged the government to protect a site in Coloane Village which officials believe dates back 3,000 to 3,800 years, to the late Neolithic (New Stone Age) or early Bronze Age.
Lei Kuok Keong, spokesman for the group, said the government should come up with the necessary measures to ensure as soon as possible that the site is not damaged.
He also slammed Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) President Guilherme Ung Vai Meng for his “unprofessional” approach towards the protection of the site.
Lei made the remarks to reporters outside Government Headquarters after handing in the group’s petition, addressed to Ung, to an official representative. The petition contains 10 questions about the site they want Ung to answer.
Talking to reporters, Lei said the government should invite archaeologists to assist with the authentication of the site and take part in the dig.
Lei said the questions the group urged Ung to answer include why the bureau has failed to confirm whether the site is of historical value and why the government has not come up with relevant measures to protect the site from possible damage.
The bureau said last week that it was the first time any proof of cooking by ancient peoples has been discovered in Macau. The bureau also said that its archaeological team has found dozens of items such as plates and pots which are believed to be from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), as well as dozens of pottery fragments, possibly from the late Neolithic or the early Bronze Age, from 3,000 to 3,800 years ago.
“We wonder why the government has still not announced measures to make sure the whole site is protected… we believe such as site is valuable and the government should start legal proceedings to ensure the site which is on privately owned land is not destroyed,” Lei said.
Lei added his group would continue its “one-person-one-letter” campaign which encourages residents to send letters to the bureau to call for the protection of the site. Lei said that about 400 residents had already sent the letters and some of them had received replies from Ung already.
“We hope there will be more than 1,000 letters sent to Ung to press the government to protect the site,” Lei said.
Meanwhile, Ng said in an interpellation the site was very valuable and needed to be protected.
He urged the government to start necessary legal procedures to make sure the site as a whole is protected, adding that the government should develop the area around the site in keeping with its historical value.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a public event last night, Ung pledged that the government will collect public opinion and consider possible plans for the protection of site.
In 2007, the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) announced the discovery of a 4,000-year old settlement near Coloane’s Hac Sa Beach. At that time archaeologists said that the settlement included a number of jade workshops.(macaunews/macaupost)