The excavation of a site in Taitung City that holds artifacts from a period 2,300 to 5,300 years ago in Taiwan led to the establishment of the National Museum of Prehistory in 2001.
The site, spread over an estimated 80-100 hectares, was discovered after the construction of a new railway station began in 1980 and is the largest archaeological site ever found in Taiwan.
In an excavation area of around 10,000 square meters, more than 20,000 pieces of jade, pottery and stone tools, and 1,600 slate coffins were unearthed.
One of the jade designs, depicting two people carrying an animal aloft, was found in some of the coffins and is believed to have been an earring. The design was adopted as the museum's emblem.
The site near Taitung Railway Station was designated the Beinan Cultural Park, while the museum was built 4.5 kilometers away to showcase the evolution of life in Taiwan, the island’s natural history and the history of the Austronesian peoples that are scattered across Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.
The museum opened its doors to the public in July 2001, and in 2014 began building a branch in the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan, where prehistoric sites were discovered in in 1995 during construction of the park.
Before the branch in Tainan opened, items such as fossils of dogs and rice -- the earliest found so far in Taiwan -- were displayed in a space in the industrial park.
(By Tyson Lu and Kay Liu)