We have just gotten word (via a press release) of an upcoming exhibition at the Bishop Museum. Openning February 24, 2007 and continuing throught April 15, 2007, the exhibition is titled “Lost Maritime Civilizations of Ancient China.” A brief summary is available online and is quoted below.

The extraordinary archaeological discoveries in Southeast China and the shared history between prehistoric China and the Pacific will be revealed in this exhibition. The maritime civilizations that flourished from 7000-3000 years ago finally came to light when modern archaeology started in China about half a century ago.

Visitors will discover the rare artifacts from the Hemudu Culture and other prehistoric seafaring societies in modern Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces, experience the splendor of the Liangzhu Culture and the Bronze Age cultures of Southeast China. It is believed that some of these “lost” maritime civilizations are the ultimate ancestral cultures of the Austronesians whose descendants eventually colonized most of the Pacific islands, reaching as far as Hawai‘i, New Zealand, and Easter Island around 1000 years ago.

This exhibit is sponsored by The Freeman Foundation.

The more detailed press release indicates that there will be a catalog and various public programs to accompany the exhibition. The full release is not yet on the museum’s website but I anticipate that it will be added to the press section soon.

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