Authorities in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province will appropriate up to 800 million yuan (112 million U.S. dollars) to repair the 2,000- year-old Nanyue Kingdom Palace and government office sites this year, the deputy mayor has said.
"We will provide 500 million yuan to 800 million yuan to excavate and renovate the sites this year to mark the 2,222nd anniversary of the establishment of Guangzhou," Xu Zhibiao said on Monday.
The first phase of the excavation and renovation work will be finished by the end of next year, he said.
In 2010, the city will apply to have the sites listed as World Culture Heritage sites, a representative of the urban planning bureau of Yuexiu district, where the sites are located, said.
The sites were discovered in 1995 under a construction site. But extensive excavation work was not carried out until 2003, due to limited funding.
Archeologists said such a large palace ruin was rare. Some of the construction styles are said to be similar to ancient Rome's architecture.
In the 3,900 sq m excavation area, archeologists found palace ruins of the Nanyue Kingdom, under the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24), and those of the Nanhan Kingdom of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (AD 907-960).
In addition, they found numerous ruins from government offices in Guangzhou, such as foundations for houses, roads, wells and drainage systems.
Among the unearthed objects are various building materials, pottery, porcelain and coins.
The State Cultural Relics Bureau in 1995 appraised the sites as one of the top 10 archeological discoveries.
When the first phase of renovation work finishes, an exhibition hall will be opened to the public. It will include a renovated stone river and a town god's temple square, which were originally built thousands of years ago.
"In order to completely bring the sites to the public, we have to relocate a large number of residential buildings, which occupy more than 5,000 sq m," Han Weilong, the director of the sites, said.
The second phase of the project will be finished by 2015, and the third phase will start in the following year.
Han said the exact cost was too difficult to predict because of the size of the project.
The excavation has brought new information to light about the Nanyue Kingdom and knowledge of the layout planning and building features of the palace area, Han said.
Moreover, it provides important evidence of the Nanhan Kingdom palace-city, as well as the layout and style of local offices, he said.