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Saturday, April 09, 2011

Philippine Metal-Age unearthed @ SanRemigio, Cebu

Saturday, April 09, 2011 Posted by Vernon Go , , , , , ,

We heard of the news during the 1st week of April about a discovery of artifacts and a burial site which dated to the Iron Age (Philippine Metal Age) here in San Remigio, Cebu, Philippines. While going to Bantayan Island for the GK Bayani Challenge 2011, we, for some reason where left by the RORO-boat (prolly coz we were Delayed XD), hence a DETOUR which was very educational, enlightening, inspiring and memorable!

Tarp Signage
A TEAM of archaeologists from the University of San Carlos (USC) and the National Museum, together with students unearthed ancient pottery they believed to be dated back to the Philippine Metal Age at the grounds of the parish church in San Remigio town, Cebu.

Professor explaining to us the story of the place and their journey
We met there Prof. Jojo Bersales who explained to us what was happening in the area. They said the pottery's designs bore resemblance to other finds in the country that were dated in the Philippine Metal Age period, between A.D. 900 and 500 B.C. which also make the bones of our ancestors buried around 1,500-2,000 years old (though only radiocarbon dating of some bone samples in the United States may provide the absolute date for the site) and to think this is the first time that a Metal Age site was uncovered in Cebu!

2nd tarp signage
The USC-National Museum team will continue to conduct excavations until April 16. They will return to the site on June 4 with a joint team from USC, University of Guam and the University of the Philippines. Funding for the excavations was proviced through a grant from the University of San Carlos with logistical support from the Cebu provincial government.

They are sending four samples to the US, costing $2,000 each, to determine the cause of death, as well as for carbon dating. The 10-day excavation costs a total of P170,000; though funds are scarce but they need to do it. The skeletons belonged to humans between 40 to 45 years old and the child between 4 to 5 years old when they died. The professor even mentioned that it is even possible to make it a tourist area provided the priests allow it and that a weather-humidity controlled area is established and a plexiglass to showcase our ancestors, but that is of course depending on the political-will and funds.

Bones --Take a look at our Ancestor! ^_^
Briefer on the IRON AGE (Philippine Metal Age) finding

The burials are said to be most probably of the Iron Age or what is formally known as the Philippine Metal Age, roughly dated to between 500 BCE (or BC) and 900 CE (or AD). This is due to the absence of Chinese or any other Asian tradeware ceramics (porcelain and stoneware) as well as gold ornaments and glass beads are indicative of this period, which is way before the time when our ancestors began bartering our gold, cotton, rice, etc. for porcelain and other ceramics from China, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Behind the San Remigio Town Church
It was probably the Chinese and Arab traders, who started arriving around 900-1200 CE and who influenced our ancestors to think that gold is precious and can be worn as jewelry. Before this, gold was present in our rivers but our ancestors probably barely took notice of this or did not see this as an important personal or funerary object.

Another important evidence of the period is the presence of earthenware ceramics of two kinds: one for ritual (or perhaps funerary purposes), the other for use in domestic life. The ritual pots are usually present in burials with no sign of having been used for cooking (no soot left on the bottom).

Locals, visitors, students, government officials and Us!
About San Remigio

San Remigio, is located in the north western part of the province of Cebu. It is 109 kilometers away from the provincial capital-Cebu City. San Remigio, having the longest shoreline in the whole province of Cebu. Before the colonial period, San Remigio used to be called Kanghagas, said derive from the same name of a tree that thrives in the area. Today, the modern town of San Remigio has a total land area of 9,546.42 hectares, comprising of twenty-seven (27) barangays. The urban land area encompasses 1,096.30 hectares or 11.48% of the total land area.

It is bounded on the north by Hagnaya Bay; on the east by the municipalities of Bogo and Tabogon; on the south by the municipality of Tabuelan and on the west by TaƱon Strait (Protected Seascape which is also rich in Biodiversity). It lies between 123⁰53’ and 58” longitude and 10⁰53’ and 11”07 latitude.

The San Remigio Findings have a blog which can be Found HERE for more info.! The team is transferring to another site in southern Cebu for another archaeological exploration.

Who knew killing time would be very AWESOME!
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