Prehispanic artefacts in Cebu in danger from looting

Pre-Hispanic artefacts, thought to be ceramics from the Chinese Ming Dynasty have been discovered during tunneling works in Philippines’ Cebu City. Local politicians are calling for the Philippine National Museum to take action amid reports that the artefacts are being looted and sold in the open market.

Artifacts found beneath tunnel
Cebu Daily News, 28 August 2008

Local officials voiced fears that some historical artifacts found inside a subway tunnel under construction leading to the South Coastal Road (SCR) in Cebu City are being sold by unscrupulous people.

Councilor Arsenio Pacaña, chairman of the Cebu City Council’s tourism, cultural and historical affairs committee, said he received reports that items like jars and plates dating back hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spaniards are being claimed by people at the construction site.

According to Jose Eleazar Bersales, chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of San Carlos, a 150-year old cemetery was located in a subway tunnel being worked on by Kajima Construction.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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