1-metre gold necklace among finds from Cebu

An excavation in Cebu, Philippines, conducted by the University of San Carlos has unearthed the remains of a female buried with gold jewellery. Other rare discoveries include a powder box that may have been used for betel nuu chewinng. The find is dated to the start of the 16th century and may confirm Cebu’s position as a gold-trading partner with China before colonisation by the Spaniards.

Boljoon Church
photo credit: Cheonsa

Rare gold jewelry finds in Boljoon town
Cebu Daily News, 02 April 2008

More gold, more puzzles from Boljoon
Cebu Daily News, 02 April 2008

Gold jewelry was unearthed, again, at the archaeological dig located within the Patrocinio de Maria parish compound in Boljoon town, south of Cebu.

A 14 karat to 18 karat gold necklace measuring 1.1 meter long and weighing 34.1 grams was found in a burial ground along with the remains of a female.

They were unearthed by Capitol heritage consultant Jose Eleazar “Jobers” Bersales and a team from the University of San Carlos (USC) Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

The monetary value of the necklace, based on current exchange rate, is P22,650 but the historical significance and archaeological value, according to Bersales are “immeasurable.”


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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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