Ifugao’s terraces much younger than thought

Philippines history books may need a rewrite as new findings from archaeologists put the age of the world-famous Ifugao rice terraces to only 300-400 years old, rather than the 2,000 they were originally thought to be. The older date was based largely on untested assumptions that have since become ‘fact’, while the new data is derived from radiocarbon dating retrieved from a sample of sites across the region.

Nagacadan Rice Terraces (Kiangan, Ifugao)

Ifugao Rice Terraces may be younger than we think
Rappler, 29 April 2015

The Ifugao Rice Terraces may not be as ancient as our grade school history books would have us believe.

A team of scientists are set to present new findings that peg the age of the iconic rice terraces at 300 or 400 years instead of the long-assumed age of 2,000 years.

This means that, far from pre-dating Spanish colonization, the Ifugao Rice Terraces may be just as old as some colonial-period churches.

The earlier dates were arrived at based on radiocarbon-dating and paleoethnobotanical remains found in the rice terraces, said Stephen Acabado, director of the Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP).

Full story here.

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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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