10 September 2019

Archeological Site of Beinan

In my opinion this place is really interesting and one of must see in Taidong. Unfortunately part of this place was under maintenance, but still big part of it and especially small museum was open for visitors. We can learn more about ancient people lifestyle and how they dealt with many problems. Even without our new technology, they could make their clothing, jewellery, pottery and many stuff of everyday use. It was amazing for me to get to know, that they used stones which could only be found in central mountains area! It was really far from their place, also they didn't have cars and machinery to hep them work, but they still managed to bring back few meters long and pretty thick stones to build their coffins, houses, etc. Unfortunately, many of their utensils are still not well understood by today's researchers.

Beinan Site (卑南遺址)

Unfortunately part of Beinan Site was closed for renovation, so we couldn't see the place where they found those relics. Although the park around and small museum are very interesting with different things to see. You can see prehistoric houses, boats and many things unearthed in this area. In the museum there are also replicas of coffins. Everything is explained in english, but also at some hours, the tour guide will introduce more (also in english). The ticket to this place costs 30NTD, joined with National Museum of Prehistory ticket costs only 80NTD.

The moon-shaped stone pillar near the entrance to the Beinan Cultural Park is considered to be one of the park's landmarks. The Beinan site, located at the southeastern tip of the Beinan Mountain is a representative site of the Beilin culture of the Neolithic Age in eastern Taiwan. According to archaeologists, the site was about 5,300 to 2,300 years ago, and it was the most prosperous 3,500 to 2,300 years ago. The Beinan site covers an area of ​​more than 300,000 square meters and is the largest prehistoric settlement ever discovered in Taiwan. In addition, the Beinan site has also unearthed many slate slabs and exquisite funerary objects. It is the largest slate tomb ruins in the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia. Beinan Cultural Park is the first archaeological site park in Taiwan.

The earliest Japanese-born anthropologist, Tori-Ren took two photos of the stone pillars of the Beinan site about 1896. Luye Zhongxiong was the first scholar to study the Beinan site as an archaeological site. In an article published in the 1930s by Yukio Utano, it was stated that there were countless slate columns standing on the surface at the site. In 1945, Jin Guanhu and Guo Guozhi first began excavation around the largest standing stone, and found pottery and house remains buried in the ground.

After the end of World War II many Taiwanese scholars came to Beinan to investigate, but they have never done any excavation. In 1980 when Beinan Railway Station started construction, exposing a large number of remains and relics that had been sleeping for thousands of years, causing serious damage. The Taitung County Government entrusted Song Wenxun and Lian Zhaomei, two professors of the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology of the Taiwan University, to rescue archaeology. The rescue of archaeological work has been carried up to 9 years and the results are very fruitful. Whether it is excavation area, unearthed stone plaques and the number of relics, it is an unprecedented record of Taiwan's archaeological history, especially the large number of exquisite jade reappears.

In addition to the Beinan site, important sites include Zhabiao, Fushan, Donghe and other places. A large number of agricultural tools such as sickles and stone knives have been unearthed at these sites, and the type of the device has also become large-scale. It can be seen that the development of farming is more important. As for the ruins of the coastal areas, there are abundant fishing equipment such as net pendants and sharps, and they also show dependence on marine resources.

The slate house building of the Paiwan tribe's leader, the basic structure and the architecture of the Beinan site are partially similar.
The Beinan site is quite large and covers an area of ​​over 300,000 square meters. Not only is the settlement large, but the buildings are arranged in rows and rows, and the structure is rigorous. It is already a well-organized social structure. Its housing is slightly north-south axis, pointing to Dulan Mountain. Each house sits west to the east, looking far into the stream and the ocean. The main body of the house is a rectangular plane with a length of 11.5 meters. It is 5.5 meters wide from north to south. The slate board and the large boulders are used as the wall foundation, the wood is the column, the roof wall and the roof are made of bamboo frame and thatch. The front of the house is paved with a square vestibule and an oval stone masonry behind the house for storing food and large clay pots. There are sporadic overhead elevated silos in the settlement, and the pillars are equipped with anti-rat boards.

Hunting and farming are the main businesses of Beinanese culture. They hunt wild boars in the mountains and sika deer in the hills and plains. The cultivated grains include dry rice and millet, and the fields are opened in the form of “mountain burning”. There are quite a lot of agricultural tools unearthed, such as stone shovel, stone axe, stone knives. The main tools for hunting are stone spears and sarcophagi. Although the settlement is on the edge of the Beinan Daxi, the villagers are not good at fishing, and the fish are only supplementary food.

Stone coffins

Long-term settlement has prompted the people to develop various types of technology. In addition to agricultural tools, hunting tools and other stone tools, pottery is one of the most common utensils in daily life, mainly used for water, storage and cooking. Pottery is usually made by hand, and occasionally using turntable refurbishment technology, it is fired in the open air, and the fire is low. The main shape includes containers such as cans, pots, and small-mouth bottles, as well as tools such as ceramic spinning wheels, pottery pots and spoons.

The exquisite jade can best show the aesthetics and craftsmanship of the tribe. Including jade and jade-like headwear, earrings, neck ornaments (such as small jade bells), chest ornaments, wrist ornaments, arm ornaments (such as flared rings), and some non-utility sexual weapons, tools, a variety of unique styles. In shape, the earrings are the most varied. Among them, the human body shape can be used as a representative, and has been selected as the museum emblem by the National Taiwan Museum of Prehistoric Culture. These jade articles are mostly ordinary decorations of the tribes. After the death of the people, they are buried as underground burials. Judging from the fineness of these jade articles, it is likely that someone has specialized in making jade jewelry and trading it with jade artifacts.

In addition, there are thousands of slate slabs buried in the bottom of the buildings in the Beinan ruins, distributed in a strip shape, and the same as the seat of the above-ground buildings, obviously meaning is extraordinary. There are rich and exquisite burial jade and pottery in the plaque. It can be seen that people have a concept of soul at that time. They believe that there is another world after death, and there are funeral rituals along the way. The unearthed homes and the tombs closely overlapped and became a major feature of the Beinan site.
The site also found headless remains of headhunters, most likely because of the expansion of ethnic groups, competition for natural resources, and the beginning of tribal warfare.

Based on the importance of the Beinan site, Professor Song Wenxun proposed to build a field museum on the spot in 1982. In 1988, the Beinan site was listed as a national first-class monument. In 1991, the central government decided to plan the site as a "Beinan Cultural Park." In August 2002, the National Taiwan Prehistoric Culture Museumawas opened
The planning concept of the entire Beinan Cultural Park is to regard the site as a museum of the sky.
The largest stone pillar at Beinan Site measures 4.85m in height, 2.12m in width and is 15cm thick.

Longfeng Temple (龍鳳佛堂)

Longfeng Temple ic located in the scenic area of ​​Liyu Mountain. It's known as the scenic landmark of Taitung City. The evolution of the Dragon and Phoenix Temple is due to the fact that the Bo'ai Road in Taitung City is now known as the Dongling Palace. The main god Guan Shengdi is the descendant of the emperor and the founding committee is to promote Taitung. Lin Jinquan, who runs the mountain freight business, is the main committee member. Wu Jiangxiang is the deputy chairman and member Zheng Yuxin is responsible for project supervision and design.

In 1973, the Longfeng Baoyu Tower was completed, and the Longfeng Buddhist Temple was completed in 1976. In the 1980s, due to the lack of maintenance in the Buddhist temple, even the pagoda buildings were classified as dangerous buildings. In order to avoid accidents, tourists were not allowed to go upstairs to look at the Taitung landscape from the air.
Later on, the management committee has invested nearly 10 million yuan to make it beautiful and to maintain the development of the Buddhist temple.

On the second floor of the Buddhist temple, the Daxiong Hall is dedicated to the Lord Goddess of Mercy. The main ceremonies include the Guanyin Bodhisattva Enlightenment Day and the Longfeng Pagoda will follow the three-section practice.
Now Baoyu Tower and Buddhist Temple have been merged into the same unit, and the decoration of the Buddhist temple has gradually improved. The parties also expect Longfeng Buddhist Temple to get rid of difficulties as soon as possible and create new vitality.
As early as the opening of the Buddhist temple foundation in 1968, the stone artifacts were dug up. Professor Song Wenxun from the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology of National Taiwan University led the students to explore the research. The cultural relics excavated here are similar to those unearthed from the Beinan Cultural Site discovered and it can also be proved that the carp mountain was smoked in prehistoric times.

1. 950, Taitung County, Taitung City, 文化公園路
2. No. 506號, Bo'ai Road, Taitung City, Taitung County, 950

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