"A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people"
-Mahatma Ghandi
Henan-Hong Kong Archaeological and Cultural Student Exchange Tour
3-8 April, 2018

From April 3-8, 2018, eleven students from local Hong Kong high schools had the unique opportunity to participate in the “Henan-Hong Kong Archaeological and Cultural Student Exchange Tour.” This educational tour was jointly organized by the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, and Chinese Cultural Studies Center.

In recent years, the archaeological development of China has been rapid, and many important archaeological results have been published. However, these archaeological findings do not always reach public attention. In addition, the discipline of archaeology is not one that students in Hong Kong have much opportunity to consider, there being no archaeology major offered in any of the tertiary institutes in Hong Kong. With these factors in mind, this trip was organized with the aim of allowing Hong Kong high school students the opportunity to see firsthand archaeology in action.

As part of the educational tour, the students from Hong Kong, dressed in their formal school uniforms, spent a morning with students from Zhengzhou Experimental High School, where students from both sides were able to talk in a warm exchange and ask questions of each other, getting to know each other and learning more about the differences and similarities in their educational experiences in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The educational tour included visits to the Henan Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology (HPICRA), and the Zhengzhou Shang City archaeological workstation. The students were received by Mr. Liu Hai Wang, director of the HPICRA, who introduced the institute to them. Dr. Zhou Ligang and Dr. Wang Juan then gave them a tour of the institute’s laboratories.

The archaeological field experience was the highlight and focus of the trip. At the Eastern Zhou dynasty site of Pinhao Lanwan in Xinzheng, Mr. Fan Wanquan, who is the leading archaeologist at the site, taught basic principles of fieldwork, including stratigraphic theory, and the use of tools such as the hand shovel and Luoyang shovel. Students were divided into and worked in two groups. Following careful supervision of on-site staff, students were able to try their hand at excavating. Although the weather was cold that day, the students’ excitement to learn was high, eagerly getting their knees dirty as they got down to work.

Students visited a number of archaeological sites, including the Zhengzhou City site, the ZHenghan Ancient City site (the site of the capitals of both Zheng State and Han State from the Warring State period), the Ming dynasty tombs in Hebi, and the Song dynasty ruins of Xinzhengmen in Kaifeng.

Through this exchange activity, Hong Kong students have strengthened their understanding of the rich history and culture of China, and to visit the Central Plains of China, a place that is known as the cradle of Chinese civilization. Hopefully, through this trip, the students’ interest in archaeology and in history has been sparked and strengthened.

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