The Railway Bureau (鐵道局), which is currently carrying out the Chiayi Urban District Elevated Railway Project (嘉義市鐵路高架化), excavated two sets of human remains on July 7 in Chiayi, and handed them over to the National Museum of Prehistory (NMP) for temporary maintenance and research purposes.
First unearthed in February this year, the remains were a pair of man and woman in supine position, with their hands behind their backs, and were presumed to be relatives.
The Railway Bureau pointed out that it was aware of the existence of the Taidoukeng Culture Site (臺斗坑文化遺址) earlier on, and therefore included the excavation as part of its construction project.
Dr. Yan Ting-yu (顏廷伃) of the National Taiwan University's Department of Anthropology, responsible for the site's excavation and research, estimated that the remains date back to the late Neolithic period 2500 years ago and belonged to Chiayi's "Hui Heitao Culture (灰黑陶文化)." Due to the lack of archaeological sites previously excavated in Chiayi City, the discovery of the site is of great significance.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau of Chiayi City stated that the Chiayi Urban District Elevated Railway Project's team has had many discussions with archaeologists, experts and scholars, and it was decided that the Southern Taiwan Science Park Branch (南科考古館) of the NMP will conduct further analysis on the remains, and later transfer them back to Chiayi City to be preserved.
It is hoped that the results of the research will provide academic circles and the public with a deeper understanding of prehistoric culture in the Chiayi area.
With a third of the project carried out thus far, the new Chiayi Urban District Elevated Railway, which covers 10.9 kilometers, is expected to open to traffic by the end of 2025.