Scholars in Emerging Archaeological Researches in the Philippines
Part 1Session 7
Thu 13:30–15:00 Room 1.405
Part 2Session 8
Thu 15:30–17:00 Room 1.405
- Kristine Kate A. Lim University of the Philippines, Diliman
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- Adding to Archaeological Chronologies in Island Southeast Asia through Newly-Discovered Sites in Southeastern Mindanao, Philippines Anna Pineda University of the Philippines, Diliman
With the currently thriving archaeological studies in Island Southeast Asia, we are now in the position to assess how communities adapt to environmental change and societal stresses through time. It also opens new insights on the chronology of various archaeological sites. And while this is particularly true in many areas throughout the Philippines, studies on the island of Mindanao—especially at its southern area—is still relatively at its initial stages. This paper will provide results for a recent archaeological survey done in Southeastern Mindanao. These sites will be situated within the previously limited archaeological and historical researches within the area, while also comparing them to other sites throughout the Philippines and Island Southeast Asia. We can tentatively expand on human interactions and chronologically relate it with our current understanding of Island Southeast Asian record.
- An Overview of the Vulnerabilities of Maritime Cultural Landscapes in the Philippines Kristine Kate A. Lim Freie Universitat Berlin
At present, there are a few types of research that examine the influence and impact of human activities and natural hazards focused on archaeological heritage seascapes in the Philippines. Often, vulnerability assessments pertaining to maritime and coastal landscapes do not necessarily account the cultural aspect in the discussion and predominantly has an environmental perspective. Accordingly, those that conduct vulnerability assessments in maritime and coastal communities are also focused on the impacts of climate change to coastal integrity, coral degradation, fish loss and consequently food security. These assessment tools lack discussion on how such phenomena affect our heritage systems especially in present-day shorelines that are more susceptible to climate change and other anthropogenic signals. If ever heritage systems make it to the discussion, they are also geared towards the understanding of the impacts of natural disasters on built and natural heritage and lately, a growing interest on incorporating Indigenous knowledge and nothing on Philippine archaeological resources.
While those mentioned are surely a priority, one must also be able to account for an archaeological perspective in the conduct of vulnerability assessments in maritime and coastal sites. Archaeology as a discipline of human and material science with long-term data on human-environment interactions can go beyond this short-term and seemingly one-sided understanding of such occurrence and discuss systems of culture-environment change in aid of not only heritage conservation and management but also a holistic disaster risk reduction management plan.
Here, I will give an overview of these gaps and salient points that need to drawn-out in several studies and projects and show some archaeological examples that need our attention. With an interdisciplinary and integrated approach, this study is relevant in putting forward solutions and the understanding of human cultures in the context of pressing global issues.
- Developing a System for Cultural Heritage Management Applications for Prehistoric Sites and Materials of Cagayan Valley, Luzon Island, Philippines Caroline Marie Q. Lising Ateneo de Manila University
There is a need to develop and create a system for cultural heritage management applications for the province of Cagayan Valley, Philippines, which will serve as a platform upon which implementation of CRM plans and projects will be based. Cagayan Valley is a known location of numerous and the oldest archaeological sites in the country dating to the Middle Pleistocene. The master thesis of this candidate has shown that no comprehensive cultural resource management plan exists for the Cagayan province sites, hence the necessity for this project. The method to be employed mainly includes studying how other countries of similar socio-economic contexts with the Philippines have addressed their sites of similar characteristics. Two world-renowned Pleistocene sites—Sangiran in Indonesia, and Dmanisi in the Republic of Georgia--have been chosen as models to see how these have managed, protected and preserved, the information about them disseminated, and the involvement of stakeholders in the process. It aims to identify best practices in cultural heritage management based on historical as well as contemporary situations, to determine which of these best practices can be adopted for implementation in the Cagayan Valley, and what innovations can be made and applied to the context of the Cagayan Valley sites. Another reason for choosing these two sites is that both have produced similar faunal and lithic materials that have been found in sites in the Cagayan Valley, and lastly, both sites in these 2 countries are known to have implemented their own cultural heritage management strategies for a considerable period of time now. In the Philippines, the oldest human remains in the country to date have been found in Callao Cave, Peñablanca, Cagayan Province, dating to 67,000 kya (Mijares 2009). These Callao human fossils have recently been assigned a new species, Homo luzonensis (Detroit et al 2019). Although no human remains have yet been published from the Rizal, Kalinga site in the western border of Cagayan Valley, lithic materials and fauna that have been found and dated to 709 kya (Ingicco et al 2018) convince researchers that the humans that made these stone tools would have been Homo erectus, the same species in Sangiran and Dmanisi.
- Exploring How Humans Adapted to the Tropical Environment of Palawan Island During Prehistory and How They Used Its Resources Hermine Xhauflair University of Cambridge
Lithic industries in Southeast Asia are characterised broadly speaking by the paucity of formal tool types and simple production techniques. It has been suggested that this might be the consequence of an adaptation to the tropical environment in which human groups lived and that stone artefacts were complemented by a more complex industry made of bamboo. Use-wear analyses of stone tools seem to support this interpretation as many of them show traces related to plant processing. Nevertheless, it is not clear whether these traces are the result of manufacturing bamboo tools or if they are in fact related to processing other plants. In order to know if bamboo processing has a specific signature and can be distinguished from use-wear resulting from working other plants, I built up a reference collection by conducting experiments in Makiling Forest Reserve (Luzon Island). To be realistic, these were based on activities recorded in the field among Pala’wan communities (Palawan Island) who use wild plants on a daily basis. This approach led to the identification of a particular wear resulting from processing bamboo, as well as from other plants such as palms, banana trees and pandan. Using this new analytical tool, I studied artefacts from Tabon Cave dating to late Pleistocene (40-30,000 BP). The tools displayed evidence for processing different plants, such as palms, rattan and Donax. I also observed use-pattern related to different activities, including plant splitting and thinning fibres. These results, together with other recent discoveries, are beginning to challenge the bamboo hypothesis sensu stricto and show that prehistoric people adapted to the forests of SE Asia in a more holistic way, using a wide range of plant resources.
- Lessons from Interpret Europe: Adapting Heritage Interpretation and Alternative Education in the Philippines Andrea Natasha E. Kintanar University of the Philippines
Tuklas Pilipinas Society is a non-profit organisation that aims to spread awareness of archaeological heritage in the Philippines through alternative education and public archaeology. The group has been adapting lessons from Interpret Europe for Heritage Interpretation strategies, which they have also integrated with their own ideas. This presentation discusses various examples of public archaeology conducted by Tuklas in the Philippines, that have been effective in engaging local communities in heritage management and preservation of their archaeological sites. The different projects of Tuklas have close involvement of the local and national government. With this, the group has been able to review the government’s implementation and initiatives. As with most public archaeology efforts, Tuklas emphasizes the importance of close interaction between the local community, archaeologists, and heritage practitioners in the course of their work.
- Paleogeography and Human Mobility in Island Southeast Asia from the Late Pleistocene through the Mid-Holocene Emil Charles R. Robles University of the Philippines
Recent discoveries of new hominin species in Island Southeast Asia have highlighted the importance of the region in our understanding of the human past. Different species of the genus Homo have colonized the islands in spite of the need for oftentimes long sea crossings. A Geographic Information System approach to understanding palaeogeography, palaeoenvironments, and mobility through these island environments is presented here for Island Southeast Asia. This approach is undertaken using different spatial analytical tools in GRASS GIS. Paleogeographic changes due to Quaternary sea level changes are modeled using present-day bathymetric and topographic datasets. Resulting palaeogeographic models coupled with the palaeoenvironmental datasets are used to analyse mobility to different parts of the region. Resulting models show that during the Pleistocene through the mid-Holocene Island Southeast Asia experienced massive changes in the distribution of land and the oceans. This, in turn, have significant implications in our understanding of the history of human presence in the region and how they colonized and moved to the islands.
Archaeology is an exciting discipline in this 21st century of the Philippines with more collaborations and developing data and discussions given the older timeline of the peopling in the Southeast Asian region. Researches in the last few years have significantly contributed to a better understanding of early human migration and colonization, proving how connected the islands are to the rest of the world. Besides this, the field is also challenged with its role in today’s global context and issues. In this panel, we invite and bring together young scholars with on-going archaeological researches on human adaptation to climate change, archaeological heritage management, and the application of new technologies in archaeological data presentation – key and emerging themes in the practice of Philippine archaeology.