A brief introduction on the Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave at Xiqiao Mountain
2019-10-25 上午 11:07   来源:south china historical trail   
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The Orienteering World Cup Final 2019 and Guangdong Historical Road Orienteering Championship “Surfing 4K IPTV” Cup #5 (Naihai, Foshan) will be inaugurated on October 25th. There is an important cultural heritage in the beautiful Xiqiao Mountain Scenic Area passing by the race route, which is the Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave.

The Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave was operated from Song to Qing Dynasty, which is located at the southeast of Shinao Peak of Xiqiao Mountain in Nanhai District, Foshan City. The cave has been named because it was once rich in Shiyan (stone swallow, a kind of swallows nesting on rocks). And it is famous for the inside relics formed by quarrying, such as "sky pane", "stone screen", "stone ancestral temple" and so on. There are a large number of man-made mining remains and stone materials that have been mined and not yet transported away in the cave. This site is one of the rare well-preserved quarry sites as well as one of the uncommon historical relics frozen due to unexpected events in China at present. It is preliminarily estimated that the site covers an area of about 60,000 square meters.

From 2015 to 2018, Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology together with the Underwater Cultural Heritage Protection Center of the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and other units, have successively conducted underwater archaeological surveys and measurements on Shiyan Cave. According to the diving investigation, it is found that this rare domestic land-water combination cultural site has a wide range and a long service life. Owing to the main quarrying face of the inner cave is submerged by water, natural weathering and man-made damage are avoided. Its underwater remains, such as mining traces, mining tools, living appliances, and semi-finished stone products, are quite abundant and still maintain intact.

The internal and external caverns with different sizes are connected in an orderly manner, retaining clear quarrying traces, complete quarrying compartments, and a perfect footpath system. Across aisles and niches between the caverns, it can be seen numerous newly mined strip-shaped stones neatly piled up and individual round column plinths. Moreover, on the walls of the site left behind lampstands and utensils like oil lamps and pottery pots which were used for excavation were scattering on the ground.

With high authenticity and integrity, the Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave is of great value for studying the source of building materials, mining and metallurgy technologies in the Pearl River Delta during Song to Qing Dynasty. The well-preserved status of this site also provides a good platform for enriching the types of underwater archaeology and protection of underwater cultural heritage, establishing a diversified underwater archaeology discipline and conducting more in-depth research.

On October 16th, 2019, the Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave at Xiqiao Mountain was announced as the eighth batch of National Key Cultural Relics Protection Units by the State Council.

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Pic.1: The entrance of The Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave (Photographed by Nanhai District Culture and Sports Bureau, Foshan City, Guangdong Province in Sept.2018)

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Pic.2: Part of the entrance of The Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave (Photographed by Nanhai District Culture and Sports Bureau, Foshan City, Guangdong Province in Sept.2018)

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Pic.3: A “stone screen” of The Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave (Photographed by Nanhai District Culture and Sports Bureau, Foshan City, Guangdong Province in Sept.2018)

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Pic.4: The underwater acoustic mapping operation on the Quarry Site of Shiyan Cave (Photographed by Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in 2016)

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Pic.5: The rendered schematic effect plan of each cavern in Shiyan Cave (Made by Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in 2016)

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Pic.6: The underwater mining traces and aisles of the Shiyan Cave (Photographed by Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in 2016)

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Pic.7: The strip-shaped stones piled along the aisles (Photographed by Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in 2016)

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Pic.8: The two characters “Thousand Zhangs” engraved on the wall above a circular column plinth (Photographed by Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in 2016)

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Pic.9: Remnants of the oil lamps and pottery pots that found on the underwater site (Photographed by Guangdong Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in 2016)

责任编辑:He Luoxi