Piecing Together Sha Po presents the first sustained analysis, framed in terms of a multi-period social landscape, of the varieties of human activity in Sha Po spanning more than 6,000 years. Synthesising decades of earlier fieldwork together with Atha and Yip’s own extensive excavations conducted in 2008–2010, the discoveries collectively enabled the authors to reconstruct the society in Sha Po in different historical periods.
The artefacts unearthed from the site—some of them unique to the region—reveal a vibrant past which saw the inhabitants of Sha Po interacting with the environment in diverse ways. Evidence showing the mastery of quartz ornament manufacture and metallurgy in the Bronze Age suggests increasing craft specialisation and the rise of a more complex, competitive society. Later on, during the Six Dynasties–Tang period, Sha Po turned into a centre in the region’s imperially controlled kiln-based salt industry. Closer to our time, in the nineteenth century the farming and fishing communities in Sha Po became important suppliers of food and fuel to urban Hong Kong. Ultimately, this ground-breaking work tells a compelling story about human beings’ ceaseless reinvention of their lives through the lens of one special archaeological site.
—Francis Allard, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
‘This volume is the best overview of the early history of Hong Kong that I know. The authors have articulated patterns of human settlement at Sha Po in a masterly way that informs us not only of Lamma Island, or greater Hong Kong, but of Lingnan as a whole. I welcome it as the key source for specialists and the interested public alike.’
—Charles Higham, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Otago, New Zealand
‘It is rare indeed for a multi-period study of a region to not only synthesise a vast range of archaeological material but also include incisive points of theory alongside that narrative, such as the need to understand evidence at a landscape level and questioning the utility of “Neolithic” and “Bronze Age” categories. This is such a book.’
—Steve Roskams, Department of Archaeology, University of York