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Preparing for Tainan City's 400th Anniversary: Huang Wei-che Inspects Zeelandia Town Excavation Site

Tainan City will celebrate its 400th anniversary of establishment in 2024. In honor of the event, Tainan city government set up a preparatory committee, led by Mayor Huang Wei-che, to plan out celebration activities. The city government is already collaborating with National Cheng Kung University on the Fort Zeelandia and Zeelandia Town Research and Education Project. Major Huang Wei-che and NCKU President Dr. Su Huey-jen visited the Zeelandia Town excavation site at Shimen Elementary School on Feb. 5, kicking off the series of “400 Years of Tainan” activities. City Councilor Li Chi-wei was also present. 
Mayor Huang mentioned that Tainan has rich and substantial culture and is the home of the gods. Looking up to the heavens, Tainan worships many gods; looking down to the land, Tainan is the site of many historical artifacts. And the series of brick building ruins found at Shimen is a perfect example.
The Mayor also thanked the NCKU team for working ceaselessly and bringing the Dutch Occupation Period ruins to the public eye within such a short time. Although the team has only done a small-scale trial pit excavation at Shimen Elementary School, judging from the overall status of the ruins, it matches the records on ancient maps now preserved at Dutch museums. Huang believes that this archeological site may have a chance to become a world heritage site, and expressed that he hopes the public sector and academia can work together to preserve the site instead of backfilling it so that posterity can also see this historical side of Tainan.
Tainan Cultural Affairs Bureau explained that the Fort Zeelandia and Zeelandia Town Research and Education Project began in June, 2019. The project cross-examines historical documents, map overlays, and excavation results to rediscover the Tainan during the Age of Discovery. The research is based on survey results and mapping done by NCKU Assistant Professor Huang En-yu, and excavation work at Shimen Elementary School and Anping Sword-Lion Square are done by the NCKU Graduate Institute of Archeology team led by Professor Liu Yi-chang. According to historical data and modern mapping, Shimen and Ximen Elementary Schools are located at where the land and sea met in Zeelandia Town during the 1640s. The present Anping 
Sword-Lion Square is also located within the scope of former Zeelandia Town. Furthermore, the team found a Qing Dynasty brick structure in the north exploration ditch of Shimen Elementary School, and beneath it was a layer of earth which may had been a flood alluvial and deposition layer. This composition is similar to stratums near the coastline.
To encourage local students participation in this significant moment, Tainan Municipal Administration of Cultural Heritage cooperated with National Cheng Kung University to organize on-site education activities and prepare learning materials. In 2020, they will host seed teachers training and on-site demo teaching events. The trial pit excavation is a semi-open excavation site where locals and visitors can observe the entire process close up. As more artifacts are excavated, we will organize on-site tours to help local residents learn more about their hometown and its stories.
The Cultural Affairs Bureau pointed out that with the arrival of Tainan’s 400th anniversary, Tainan city government is wrapping up initial stages of research and launching various projects, including the Chihkan Tower Dawn Project(署光再現計畫) and the Mid-/Long-term Wushantou Reservoir and Jianan Irrigation Waterways Historical Representation Project. These are witnesses of Tainan’s major historical progress in the past 400 years, and add a historical and cultural touch into the sensational Tainan 400th anniversary city celebrations.