Shell midden discovered in old church grounds

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Archaeologists in the Philippines make a chance discovery of a shell midden when visiting an old church. With the cooperation of the authorities they were able to document the site and suggest future directions for the construction to minimise impact to the site. The site contains human bones, which may indicate some sort of pre-Hispanic burial site.

Pre-Hispanic burial ground unearthed in CamSur town
Philippine Inquirer, 31 July 2016

A team of archaeologists and graduate students from different universities in the United States accidentally found a pre-Hispanic burial ground amid an ongoing construction work of a multipurpose building in a former cemetery here on Monday.

The team, led by archaeologist Dr. Stephen Acabado, was surveying an old church in the village of Santo Domingo in the town along the Bicol River when they stumbled on the burial ground.

“We (archaeological team) were visiting the Camaligan church when I asked my group to see first the (Bicol River). Passing by the old cemetery, I saw there’s construction going on and diggings. When I entered the construction site I immediately saw the shell midden. Wow!” Acabado said.

Full story here.

New burials found at the Plain of Jars

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Plain of Jar excavations. Source: AFP, via Bangkok Post 20160404

Exciting new research coming out of our colleagues from Laos and Australia: preliminary research from the Plain of Jars have uncovered burials – both primary and secondary – found in association with the massive stone jars.

Plain of Jar excavations. Source: AFP, via Bangkok Post 20160404

Plain of Jar excavations. Source: AFP, via Bangkok Post 20160404

Another piece in plain of jars puzzle placed by Lao-Australian archaeological team
Shanghai Daily, 04 March 2016

New Findings on Lao Plain of Jars Help Unravel Ancient Mysteries
VOA, 21 March 2016

Ancient burials revealed at Laos’ mysterious Plain of Jars
AFP, via Bangkok Post, 04 April 2016

Stone jars used to dispose of the dead in ancient Laos, Australian researchers say
ABC News, 04 April 2016

One of Asia’s most mysterious archaeological sites, the Plain of Jars in Laos, was used as an ancient burial ground, Australian researchers say.

The Plain of Jars in central Laos is made up of 90 sites, each containing ancient carved stone jars up to three metres tall.

Today the Australian National University (ANU) announced a team from the School of Archaeology and Anthropology had discovered human remains estimated to be 2,500 years old, shedding light on the use of the sites and jars which had been previously unknown.

Full story here.

Neolithic burials found in central Vietnam

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Excavations at Ha Tinh province. Source: Viet Nam News 20150423

Australian and Vietnamese archaeologists working in Central Vietnam have uncovered three burials, presumed to date to the Neolithic.

Excavations at Ha Tinh province. Source: Viet Nam News 20150423

Excavations at Ha Tinh province. Source: Viet Nam News 20150423

Three ancient skeletons found
Viet Nam News, 23 April 2015

Three skeletons found in the central province of Ha Tinh are estimated to be about 5,000 years old, said Nguyen Tri Son, director of the provincial museum.

The skeletons were lying next to each other 1.8 metres beneath soil depth on Ru Diep Mountain, Thach Dai Commune, Thach Ha District. Their skulls, teeth, ribs and bones were still intact.

The archaeologists believed that the remains belonged to people from the New Stone Age.

Full story here.

Feature on Gua Harimau

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Gua Harimau in South Sumatra. Source: Jelajah 20150325

Jelajah.com carries a feature on the Neolithic site of Gua Harimau in South Sumatra. Even if you can’t read Indonesian, it’s worth a visit for the pictures – Gua Harimau is the only known painted rock art site on Sumatra, and it features a number of other prehistoric burials.

Gua Harimau in South Sumatra. Source: Jelajah 20150325

Gua Harimau in South Sumatra. Source: Jelajah 20150325

Keunikan Gua Harimau di Padang Bindu, Sumatera Selatan [Link no longer active]
Jelajah, 25 March 2015
Article is in Bahasa Indonesia

Dari kota Palembang di Sumatera Selatan rombongan kami bergerak ke baratdaya menuju kota Baturaja. Jarak tempuhnya sekitar 6 jam dengan menggunakan kendaraan beroda empat. Kali ini saya bergabung dengan rombongan para arkeolog dari kota Jakarta, Jambi dan Palembang untuk mengunjungi Gua Harimau di desa Padang Bindu, kecamatan Semidang Aji, kabupaten Baturaja.

Kami bermalam di kota Baturaja dan mulai melanjutkan perjalanan keesokan paginya. Hanya butuh 30 menit kami tiba di desa Padang Bindu, lokasi terdekat dari Gua Harimau. Kendaraan roda empat tak bisa masuk lebih jauh, rombongan harus berjalan kaki. Tapi sebelumnya kami sempatkan membeli makanan dan minuman untuk bekal selama di Gua Harimau. ”Tak ada warung di sana,” begitu kata Agus Sudaryadi, arkeolog asal Jambi, yang kebetulan sekamar dengan saya di hotel.

The mummies of the Philippines

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Mummies of Ibaloi. Source: Daily Mail 20150121

A feature on the burial practices of the Ibaloi, who desiccate their dead and deposit the bodies in mountain caves.

Mummies of Ibaloi. Source: Daily Mail 20150121

Mummies of Ibaloi. Source: Daily Mail 20150121

Remains of the Fire Mummies: Ancient Ibaloi people SMOKED their dead 1,000 years ago… and stored them in caverns 4,000ft up the side of a Philippine mountain where they still lie
Daily Mail, 21 January 2015

A dark cave thousands of feet up the side of a remote mountain in the Philippines is the final resting place of these curious corpses known as ‘fire mummies’.

The Ibaloi people, an ancient race from the Philippines, smoked their dead dry for months to mummify them – giving them their firey nickname.

The preserved remains lie in dark caverns 4,000ft up the side of Mount Timbac, near Kabayan in the province of Benguet, 200 miles north of capital Manila.

Full story here.