Between 2010 and 2012, the team jointly formed by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Macao and the Institute of Archaeology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences carried out an archaeological investigation and excavation project on the eastern area of the St. Paul’s College site and discovered the archaeological remains of the pit. It consists of a shaft-like circular pit that was artificially dug into the bedrock and has a diameter of around 5.5 to 5.8 metres at the opening and a depth of around 9.9 metres. As the unearthed artefacts are mostly dated to the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, it is inferred that the artefacts found in the pit were manufactured and used during the same period, which is consistent with the time the former St. Paul’s College was in operation.
A great number of daily artefacts were discovered from the pit, including potteries, porcelains, bronze objects and construction materials, such as bricks and tiles. Many of the porcelain wares are remains of export porcelain and Kraak porcelain. Kraak porcelain is a collective name for blue-and-white porcelain exported from China to Europe or other countries between the 16th and mid-17th centuries. Based on scientific analytical techniques and comparative analysis, it was verified that the majority of the Kraak shards unearthed from the pit were produced by folk kilns in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, offering archaeological evidence of Macao’s role as a key transhipment port and trade hub on the Maritime Silk Road of the time.
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