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Permanent exhibitions

The exhibitions, which focus on looking at the past and learning about it by examining what is buried in layers of soil beneath the surface, are well integrated with the architecture. The three exhibitions, themed on the Tainan Science Park, prehistoric life, and changes, present articles found there and related research achievements in a technologically advanced, vivid, and dynamic way.

 Exhibition 1: 5,000 Years in Nanke

The Museum of Archaeology, Tainan Branch of the National Museum of Prehistory is Taiwan’s first museum dedicated to archaeology located in a science park. 5,000 Years in Nanke displays the history of the region dating as far back as five millennia (to the Neolithic Age) and the importance and uniqueness of the many archaeological sites found in the Tainan Science Park region. The exhibition chronologically exhibits over 200 precious, iconic relics from six major cultures and 11 sub-periods, such as the paper-thin shell knives, shiny, patu-shaped stone axes, rustic yet intriguing clay faces, and deer-antler knife handles and bone dice of highly refined craftsmanship. Along with the large animated video at the entrance and models of everyday scenes from various cultures of the past, the museum brings prehistoric culture up close and personal and is no longer about just reading text from books or other media. Moreover, each rescue excavation at a site involves changing the topography of the region, which is only achieved through the hard, sometimes grueling, work of agencies and workers. A glimpse into all that has been achieved over the past 20 years by those involved is also on display.

Exhibition 2: Everyday Life in the Prehistorical Era

This exhibition offers a look at the material, social, and spiritual culture of the former residents of the science park region from the seven aspects of fishing,farming, hunting, raising livestock, the home, implements, and jewelry. The different sections of the exhibition host a total of over 100 unearthed articles of varying qualities and functions as well as displays of different scenes of prehistoric life based on research. You will also see implements of distinct significance that are rich in ingenuity left behind by those of the past. These objects and scenes show us how prehistoric people fed themselves and made the tools they needed for everyday tasks, and they also serve as evidence that we can analyze today to figure out how individuals and groups of those times interacted.

Exhibition 3: The Science of Archaeology

How do archaeologists learn about how people lived so long ago from small fragments of age-old material? By observing the way soil naturally settles into strata and the cultural layers that form as a result of human activity over time, archaeologists can figure out the chronology of sites. By capturing planar phenomena, they can illustrate the spatial relationships at the sites. Analyzing unearthed plant and animal remains gives them information on the natural environment of the time. Studies conducted on clay, stone, metal, and glass implements show them the level of craftsmanship prehistoric people achieved and about their trade networks. And research findings on bones found in burial sites give them information on the people’s physical attributes, diets, illnesses, customs, etc. The use of modern technology-based analysis to conduct research on unearthed artifacts is one of the major differences between archaeology and historiography. The technology used in research and related achievements will be discussed as you look at boundary walls, phenomena specimens, animal bones, and plant seeds from excavation sites as well as replicas of human faces made based on unearthed bones.

The Secret Chamber

After decades of excavation work, the quality and quantity of articles unearthed in the science park area is surprising. Such work has yielded specimens that can be put into four categories: human bones and funerary articles, ecological specimens, individual relics, and large-scale specimens. In the secret chamber, you will see something most museums don’t show their visitors: work on the preservation and restoration of unearthed articles. For example, the excavation process of burial-site remains at the science park shows how relics are found and then restored and preserved in the museum. Unearthing relics is a time-consuming process that requires a great amount of labor and material resources. Since being built, the museum has continued to conduct research, whose results keep adding to the exhibitions.