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The Antiquities and Monuments Ordinance, in Hong Kong Law (Cap. 53), was enacted in 1976 to preserve the objects of historical, archaeological and palaeontological interest and for matters ancillary thereto or connected therewith. It is administered by Secretary for Home Affairs (Antiquities and Monuments Office of Leisure and Cultural Services Department).

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Antiquities

Under the Ordinance, "Antiquities" are defined as "places, buildings, sites or structures erected, formed or built by human agency before the year 1800 and the ruins or remains of any such place, building, site or structure, whether or not the same has been modified, added to or restored after the year 1799" and "relics". The word, "relics" is defined as the movable objects made, shaped, painted, carved, inscribed, created, manufactured, produced or modified by human agency before the year 1800 or those have not been modified, added to or restored after the year 1799. Fossil remains or impressions are also considered as "relics" under the Ordinance.

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Archaeological Sites

All archaeological relics in Hong Kong are considered as properties of the Government under the Ordinance. These includes ancient architecture, kilns, hearths, rock carvings, farm lands, shell or refuse mounds and foot prints of ancient human beings.

The Antiquities Authority is empowered to regulate the search and excavation of all such relics through a system of licensing.

The most important sites are declared as Declared Monuments. These are defined under the Ordinance as any feature, structure, building and artefact which are considered important because of its historical, archaeological or palaeontological significance.

Over 180 sites are known as Sites of Specific Archaeological Interest (SSAI).

Monuments

After consultation with the Board and with the approval of the Chief Executive, the Secretary for Home Affairs may, by notice in the Gazette, declare any place, building, site or structure, which he considers to be of public interest by reason of its historical, archaeological or palaeontological significance, to be a monument.

According to the Ordinance, Any one without permits granted by the Secretary for Home Affairs, is not allowed to excavate, carry on building or other works, plant or fell trees or deposit earth or refuse on or in any proposed monuments or monuments; or demolish, remove, obstruct, deface or interfere with any proposed monuments or monuments.

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