Exploring the Siraya journey, a touring exhibition displays archaeological findings from the Soulangh Old Community-國立成功大學永續發展SDGs

Exploring the Siraya journey, a touring exhibition displays archaeological findings from the Soulangh Old Community

SDG16

Exploring the Siraya journey, a touring exhibition displays archaeological findings from the Soulangh Old Community

Synergy Correlation

The Siraya Archaeological Empowerment Project, commissioned by the Tainan City Government and executed by Professor Kuo-Feng Chung from our Archaeology Institute and Mr. Hong-Kun Duan, convener of the Siraya Tribal Cross-Territorial Alliance, is now nearing completion. Today (the 17th), Deputy Mayor Ze-Shan Yeh attended the press conference for the release of the project's results. In addition to members of the NCKU archaeology research team and the Siraya Tribal Cross-Territorial Alliance, the conference also featured Mr. Hong-Kun Duan, co-director of the project, who guided attendees through the exhibition of the project's achievements.


Deputy Mayor Yeh emphasized that this project differs from previous archaeological research as it emphasizes communication and collaboration with the Siraya people. Representatives from Siraya tribes were invited to confirm the content of the empowerment activities through a "Cross-Territorial Council." Additionally, Siraya youth were invited to participate in archaeological work on-site, highlighting the importance of archaeological perspectives in addressing issues related to Siraya cultural heritage rights and legal recognition of indigenous status. Tainan City was one of the earliest to recognize the Siraya tribe as indigenous people, and following last year's favorable ruling by the Constitutional Court on the renaming of the Siraya tribe, the city government will continue to promote Siraya as a legally recognized indigenous group and advocate for their rights.


Vice President Yuh-Neu Chen stated that Siraya culture has persisted over time. NCKU's Taiwan Studies Program, named "偎海e所在" is derived from the Siraya word for Tayouan, the oldest town in Taiwan, meaning "by the sea." This reflects the university's commitment to exploring the presence of prehistoric indigenous peoples from a maritime perspective and understanding the historical development of Taiwan since the 17th century. Therefore, the university provides strong support for this Siraya archaeological empowerment initiative and will continue to support related courses and research in the future. Moreover, NCKU's core curriculum course, "Retracing Tainan," demonstrates the university's deep engagement with the local community and its commitment to addressing important issues related to diverse ethnic groups and historical cultures in the region.


This project unearthed several bronze bells, glass beads, numerous shell mounds, Siraya-style pottery with shell-impressed motifs, and deer bones with burn marks and ax incisions, all accumulated from the archaeological layers of the ancestral activities in the Xiaolong Old Community of the Siraya tribe. Through archaeological efforts, it guides us to understand the past lives and cultural aspects of the Siraya people.


In terms of empowerment, activities such as overnight stays and running training sessions echo the spirit of Siraya tribal adulthood isolation training. Participants engage in archaeological excavations and ancestral communion through hands-on digging with shovels. Furthermore, some participants, after experiencing archaeological sites, have identified and established their Siraya identity and study direction, successfully enrolling in graduate programs in archaeology, resulting in significant achievements.


During the guided tour, Mr. Hong-Kun Duan shared that this exhibition not only showcases archaeological artifacts but also includes a model of an ash pit and pottery from wild fire, collaboratively made by Siraya youth and participants. These are artifacts unearthed from archaeological fields and the result of empowerment workshops, such as the "Prehistoric Barbecue Feast." Participants personally grill blood clams, oysters, and deer meat, reflecting ancestral dietary cultures left in shell mounds and animal bones. By comparing specimens and ingredients commonly found in layers of soil with those from modern life, participants understand the similarities and differences between ancestors and contemporary lifestyles. Additionally, they use collected blood clam shells as tools to decorate pottery, creating ornaments and daily utensils reminiscent of the unique "shell-imprinted pottery" unearthed during this Siraya indigenous archaeological action.


Director Shi-Yuan Xie of the Cultural Affairs Bureau stated that the unearthed artifacts from this project reflect the results of trade exchanges and the development of artistic aesthetics between the Siraya tribe and the outside world. These discoveries of Siraya material culture not only help understand the territory and life trajectory of the old Siraya society but also serve as a basis for seeking legal recognition as indigenous people after the Siraya tribe's constitutional interpretation. It also facilitates the innovative inheritance of contemporary Siraya craftsmanship. The Cultural Affairs Bureau will continue to consolidate Siraya's ethnic identity through relevant research and promotion projects and return to the path of ancestral spirits with the Siraya people.


The rich results of this project will be presented to the public through a touring mini-exhibition, accompanied by screenings of documentaries, citizen lectures, and other activities to expand public participation and exchange. The first exhibition will be held from June 21st to July 1st at the Siaolin Cultural Park, followed by exhibitions at the City Library Main Branch (Xin Zongguan) from July 2nd to July 16th and at the Longtian-Chacha Cultural and Educational Park from July 19th to July 31st. Everyone is invited to join us on the journey to the Siraya tribe.
 

Vice President Yuh-Neu Chen emphasized in her speech that NCKU will continue to provide sustained support for relevant courses and research in the future.

Bronze bell ornaments adorned the attire of the ancestors of the Siraya tribe.

The unique style of pottery with shell imprints belonged to the ancestors of the Siraya tribe.

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