The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) have jointly established 'The CASS-CUHK Chinese Archaeology Joint Research Base', the territory's first research unit dedicated to combining archaeological expertise from mainland China and Hong Kong as a new platform of collaboration. The newly established research base will study early civilizations in China through a global perspective, conduct in-depth investigations of ancient cultures in Hong Kong and Macau, explore new research horizons for the academic communities in Chinese archaeology and train new professionals in Hong Kong archaeology. The inauguration ceremony, held on 19 March 2014, was officiated by Prof. Joseph Sung, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK; Prof. Zhang Jiang, Vice President of CASS; Prof. Li Lu, Director General of Education, Science and Technology Department, Liaison Office of The Central People's Government in SAR; and Ms. Florence Hui, Under Secretary for Home Affairs, HKSAR.
'The establishment of the Joint Research Base has great cultural and historical significance. Hong Kong currently has a few archaeologists and no tertiary education programmes in archaeology, despite the known existence of over a hundred ancient cultural sites. The joint research base will connect different disciplines across CUHK, including the Centre for Chinese Archaeology and Arts (CCAA), the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), as well as Departments of History, Anthropology, Fine Arts and Physics, in pushing the global archaeological frontier in collaboration with Institute of Archaeology (IA) of CASS for the development of Chinese archaeology.' Prof. Joseph Sung said at the inauguration ceremony.
For over two decades, IA and CCAA have been collaborating in a variety of joint projects, including field excavations in Hong Kong and several significant archaeological sites in mainland China, organizing international conferences, publishing archaeological monographs and the production of museum exhibitions for the 'Forget Me Not – The Historical Roots of Hong Kong' series at CUHK. Their collaborations have had a significant impact on studies of the ancestry of Austronesian populations in Southeast Asia, as well as the origins of early jade cultures in East Asia.
Cultural development is always a common concern to the academic world and the government in Hong Kong. CCAA has been receiving support from the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB), HKSAR over the past years. The growth of the research base will also rely on the continuous collaborative efforts with HAB towards the goal of fostering archaeological development and expanding the reach of Chinese culture in Hong Kong.