Smuggled Maitum jars represent a distinct group

The remianing bags of Maitum jars that were recovered from looters last year are to be sent to the National Museum, after preliminary studies suggest that the faces depicted on them represent a distinctly separate group from the Ayub Cave pottery that was found 15 years ago.

Maitum Jars, Minda News, 03 September 2008

National Museum orders transport of remaining seized cultural artifacts
Minda News, 23 April 2009

The National Museum has ordered the transport of the remaining 17 of 22 bags of cultural artifacts seized August last year by the police in Maitum, Sarangani, as a study on the five sacks earlier transported to Manila revealed that the makers of the confiscated anthropomorphic pottery, were, indeed, “ a distinct or separate group that most likely had contact with the group who made and used the pottery from Ayub.” In a letter to Maitum Mayor Elsie Lucille Perrett dated February 16, 2009 but received only recently, National Museum Director Corazon Alvina said that a study conducted by Dr. Eusebio Z. Dizon and his staff members revealed that the potteries are “different from Ayub Cave pottery assemblage.”

“While the anthropomorphic potteries from Ayub Cave and confiscated materials exhibit similarities in general morphology, variation in the details of human traits were observed.
Likewise, the technology employed in pottery production was different. These suggest that the makers of this confiscated pottery were a distinct or separate group that most likely had contact with the group who made and used the pottery from Ayub,” Alvina said, quoting from the study.

Dizon in September inspected the contents of the 22 bags and chose five for transport to Manila.


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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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