1-metre gold necklace among finds from Cebu

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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
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Wednesday Rojak #42

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It’s almost been a month since the last Wednesday Rojak, and that’s because I’ve been traveling quite heavily for the last three weeks because of the term break and some family matters. On the flip side, it also means that I’ve amassed a few stories for this week’s very belated edition of rojak! Beside visiting Borobudur and Angkor, we also have a closer look at some of the sites in the Philippines.

Fort San Pedro
photo credit: thumbbook
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Philippine tunnel workers get heritage training

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Tunnel workers working under Plaza Independencia in Cebu City will undergo heritage training to recognise and preserve pre-hispanic artefacts they might come across while digging. The move by the National Museum is to help prevent further looting from the site.

Heritage training for tunnel workers
Cebu Daily News, 28 September 2008
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Prehispanic artefacts in Cebu in danger from looting

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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
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Archaeological Fieldwork in Cebu, Philippines

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08 November 2007 (Philippine Inquirer) – Anyone interested in fieldwork in Cebu? The National Museum and the Committee on Sites, Relics and Structures of the Cebu Provincial Government is looking for volunteers for an investigation on a site in Bantayan Island in North Cebu from mid-November to early December. You’ll have to read all the way to the end of the article for details about the fieldwork.

Mangyan in Cebu
By Joeber Bersales

No need to climb the steep and cold mountains of Mindoro to get a glimpse of the culture of one of the last four indigenous groups in the country that still use the syllabary (or baybayin) that antedates the Spanish colonial period by centuries. Well, not just yet. The Mangyan Heritage Center (MHC) and the University of San Carlos (USC) Museum opened yesterday a traveling exhibit entitled “The Mangyans of Mindoro: Myth and Meaning” – and admission is absolutely free.

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Finding gold in Bantayan

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13 September 2007 (Cebu Daily News) – With stories like these, one gets the impression that there is a lot of undiscovered archaeological potential in the Philippine islands that have yet to be surveyed, excavated and recovered. In this piece, the author writes about how archaeological material – prehispanic material culture as well as trade ceramics – have been recovered in the town of Bantayan, in Cebu. A map attached here to give you a sense of the geography of the place.

Bantayan Map
click here to go to this googlemap.

Finding gold in Bantayan
By Joeber Bersales

If I had even just 5 percent or P35 million of the P700 million that Erap Estrada was convicted yesterday of plundering from the nation, I will immediately spend P30 million to buy and repair the only remaining tile-roofed trading house in Bantayan—one of three houses built by the legendary Manuel ‘Capitan Tawi’ Rubio at the height of his wealth in the 1850s. I will use the remaining P5 million to carry out a systematic archaeological study of this island as well as of the entire island of Cebu.

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Ice Age carabao found in Cebu

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20 November 2006 (The News Today) – The remains of a 100,000 year old carabao (buffalo) has been identified as a new dwarf species. The dwarf carabao may be indicative of a biological phenomenon known as “island dwarfism”, where animals living in areas with limited resources (eg. islands) adapt to be smaller.

The News Today, 20 Nov 2006

Ice Age carabao found in Cebu

Unknown to science until now, a new species of carabao has been discovered — 100,000 years late.

During the Ice Age, Bubalus cebuensis stood 2.5 feet and weighed about 160 kilograms. It was a mini copy of today’s adult water buffaloes that stand 6 feet and weigh up to a ton.

The dwarf buffalo is to a typical carabao as a pony is to a horse. And it is about a fourth smaller than its living relative, the hundred or so tamaraws that remain in Mindoro Island and nowhere else.