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The feasibility of the establishment of historic site protected conservation areas by Shei-pa National Park-With Erbensong, Xuejian and Qijiawan ancient sites as examples
Author:Liu Yi-chang, researcher, Institute of History & Philology, Academia Sinica/Director of the Center for Archaeological Studies of the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences, Academia
Apart from Kinmen National Park and recently established Taijiang National Park,Taiwan’s national park’s have a natural resource conservation focus and attention is rarely given to the historic sites left behind by long-term human interaction with nature. Most national parks around the world already have designated ancient site conservation areas, with most centered on buildings and rarely involving archeological sites left behind by human activity over a long period of time. Most of Taiwan’s national parks have diverse resources and the important natural resources have been designated special scenic areas or ecological reserves according to the National Park Act, effectively conserving park natural resources, however, Shei-pa National Park and Yangmingshan National Park have still not established historic site conservation areas in accordance with Article 8 of the National Park Act. Historic site cultural property in national parks are not just ancient sites as defined by national laws, at the same time, they also provide important evidence of early human activity in the park area. For the conservation of historic sites in national parks, investigation and research prior to the establishment of historic site conservation areas is proposed.

Planning the establishment of Shei-pa National Park began in 1987. The main reasons for establishing the park were to actively conserve Taiwan’s high mountain ecology, landscape, river valleys and rivers, rare plants and animals and forest in response to the increasing number of mountain climbers and other visitors to the area and to raise the level of tourist service quality. The “National park information 1. Evolution”webpage on Shei-pa National Park’s website was also established. The National Park Act stipulates that national parks have the responsibility to “Protect natural scenery, wildlife and historic sites unique to Taiwan and provide them to the people for entertainment and research”(Article 1, National Park Law), therefore, if a park “has prehistoric site or historic relics from the time of recorded history or resources that have significant educational value and can nurture national sentiment, they must be preserved for posterity by the state”(Article 6, National Park Act). The importance of the historic site or resource must also be assessed so that important cultural property can be preserved and, after planning, opened to the public so that its importance and the importance of the interdependence of resources in the park can be understood by them. For this reason Shei-pa National Park is carrying out preliminary research into the suitability of making Erbensong and Xuejia ancient sites in Tai-an Rural Township, Miaoli County, and Qijiawa ancient site in Heping Rural Township, Taizhong County, sites in or near the park, historic site conservation areas. The various information collected is being used to assess the importance of the three initially chosen sites. The research and handling steps prior to the possible establishment of a historic site protection area can be summed up as:

In the discussion and investigation stage, potential subjects that are of cultural or historical importance and need to be conserved using state power were initially chosen. After choosing Erbensong, Xuejian and Qijiawan ancient sites, research is being carried out to establish the importance of making the site a historic site conservation area and acquire related information. After acquiring related information, further examination and discussion will take place and then, after related examination according to national laws, a historic site conservation area will be established. Then the conservation, preservation and management of the historic site conservation area will begin, conserving and preserving the historic site conservation area and achieving the objective of national park establishment. 
Erbensong ancient site is a residential type ancient site and has rich prehistoric cultural deposits and is well-preserved. Research 1994-95 showed that it dates from 800-300 BC maybe even earlier. Oral testimony by Saisiat and Atayal people show that is was left behind by Saisiat people who lived in the area in earlier times.Xuijian ancient site is a cultivated land type site. The nearby Salats cluster of ancient sites are residential type sites, have substantial prehistoric cultural deposits and also have the remains of the Japanese era police station and primary school close by. The sites are not easy to get to and because of this they have been protected from deliberate damage. Qijiawan site is a residential type site and it has been confirmed that the site has upper and lower prehistoric cultural strata, the upper stratum left behind by people in the Chalcolithic period and the lower one left behind by people in the Jomon Period. A substantial amount of material has been unearthed and it one of only a few high mountain long-term residential ancient sites so far discovered in Taiwan that is so old, dating back as many as 4200 years ago. Because of its uniqueness and importance it was designated a county historic site by the county government in 2009. The site has been damaged somewhat by the building of a holiday resort but a sizeable area remains s that can be used as an archaeological site park. Overall, the three sites (Erbensong, Xuejian and Qijiawan) are all important. Erbensong is on the Maruda Fort (Wan-tian Fort)scenic route maintained by Shei-pa National Park HQ and is close to the site of Erben police station and scenic spots.Qijiawan and its surrounding area also have recreational facilities provided by the park HQ and local government bodies. The two are also are relatively easy to get to and the existing ancient site displays provide a relatively good base.

Investigation of the three sites shows that all three are important. Erbensong and Qijiawan are relatively easy to get to and already have display and recreational facilities, so the conditions for planning display and education and leisure functions after they are designated ancient site conservation areas are relatively good. Preservation of the sites in their existing state will also be easier.Qijiawan has already been designated an ancient site conservation area by the managing unit and a park is planned. It is located near the Qijiawan River and is relatively safe from damage. Aslo, Taizhong County Government plans to declare Qijiawan a county ancient site which means making it a historic site conservation area is not an urgent matter. Xuejian and Salats ancient sites in the Xuejian cluster of ancient sites are important in terms of prehistoric culture, however, the cultural era is the same as the Erbensong ancient site. The traces of human activity left behind from the Japanese era have preservation value. However, the Xuejian and Salats ancient sites are not easy to get to and there are also no related display facilities, making the establishment of a historic site conservation area here less urgent. Erbensong has the facilities of the Maruda Fort scenic route but these do not interfere much with the site, however, the route has substantial first growth forest cover and the roots of the trees may affect the cultural strata of the site. The area has the Maruda Fort from the Japanese era and prehistoric sites, however, Erbensong ancient site lies outside Shei-pa National Park which means establishing an ancient site conservation area would require land use problems to be overcome. The above matters all need to be taken into account by Shei-pa National park HQ when discussing the establishment of ancient site conservation areas.

The three sites that Shei-pa National Park is discussing designating as ancient site conservation areas are important because they clearly illustrate how prehistoric people lived in a large area long before the establishment of the modern country and the arrival of people (Atayal) in modern times into the area of what is now Shei-pa National Park and contain a substantial amount of cultural property. The historic site conservation areas that have been established by Taiwan’s national parks in the past have had historic relics from the period of recorded history as the conservation subject. Shei-pa takes the lead by proposing to designate prehistoric cultural sites as conservation areas. This will prompt other national parks to the direction the take when establishing historic site conservation areas more carefully and raise the level of historic site conservation area to that of national park human cultural development process conservation sample area
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Last Update Date:2017-03-29
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