MRI Forum 58

"Rock Carvings in Hong Kong, Macau and the Region
– Description, Dating, Interpretation, Conservation"


by William Meacham

17 June 2010


Summary of the Presentation

Hong Kong has several Bronze Age rock carvings, plus others possibly Early Iron Age but still debated. The discovery of a group of carvings on Coloane in Macau provided important information for that debate. Declared as monuments by the Hong Kong Government, these rock art sites are the only above-ground features left by the early population of the territory ca. 1000 B.C. Other rock art in the broader region is also described. In a presentation with 200+ slides, the dating and possible meaning of these mysterious patterns are discussed, along with the highly controversial conservation issue. Possible links with folk religious practices still surviving in Hong Kong area are examined.

Profile of the Speaker

William Meacham is an archaeologist who has been affiliated with the University of Hong Kong since 1980. Former Chairman (1985-96) of the Hong Kong Archaeological Society, he has written widely on the prehistory of the region. He has conducted numerous excavations in Hong Kong, including the 16-month salvage project on Chek Lap Kok island, and in 1985 directed the major excavation at Hac Sa Wan on Coloane. In 1976 he published the first study of the rock carvings in Hong Kong, and has recently produced an enlarged, bilingual, full color edition. Last year he was appointed one of four advisers to the Hong Kong Government on the conservation of the rock carvings.