I finally got around to returning to the Chih-Shan Yen Prehistoric Site [芝山岩遺址]. The previous time I visited, it was closed. This archaeological excavation revealed details of an advanced Austronesian population that lived in Taiwan. Radiocarbon dating places this layer in the strata between 3,600 to 3,000 BCE [Wikipedia article (CH)]. Besides an introductory Chinese/English plaque outside, there is really no information inside except for a small brochure about Chih-Shan Park. The volunteer was helpful and knowledgeable, but anyone who doesn’t understand Chinese may not get much out of a visit.
From the Department of Culture Affairs website:
In ancient times, Chih-Shan-Yen was an islet in the lake that filled Taipei basin. During the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945), archaeological remains were found at Chih-Shan-Yen, making it the first archaeological site in Taiwan. Archaeological research has revealed remains from two prehistoric cultures – the Chih-Shan-Yen culture and the Yuanshan culture. The remains of the Yuanshan culture can be seen on the side slopes and the top of Chih-Shan-Yen, and along the sides of Zhicheng Road and Yusheng Road. Archaeological remains from the Chih-Shan-Yen culture can only be seen in between Yu Nong Elementary School and the Stone Deity Shrine in the northwest corner of Chih-Shan-Yen. Compared to other prehistoric cultures of Taiwan, the Chih-Shan-Yen culture has yielded a rich variety of excavated cultural artifacts, including ceramic, stone, bone and shell products, as well as rice, woven grass, wooden utensils and other objects indicative of an advanced culture.
Studies indicate that Taiwan was one of the original homes for Austronesian culture and that from here it evolved and migrated.
If you wish to visit, take the MRT to Zhishan Station and follow the signs, it is right around the corner from the entrance to Huiji Temple [惠濟宮]. Its hours are listed as being open weekends and holidays from 11:00-12:00 and 15:30-16:30.