The ancestors of soft drinks part of Cebu archaeological finds on display

An exhibition showcasing the artefacts unearthed from Cebu in the Philippines showcase a range of items as early as the 13th century and as recent as the early 20th century. Among the finds are gold necklaces, ceramic wares from Thailand, and bottles for aerated ginger ale (although it’s unclear if the bottles were unearthed with the ginger ale, or if it just said so in the label). All this points to a rich record of regional interactions that Cebu played in Southeast Asia.

Cebu’s archaeological finds on display

Cebu Daily News, 03 June 2009

Rare and priceless finds of Cebu-based archaeologists are on display at an ongoing exhibit at the University of San Carlos.

The items, unearthed by members of the University of San Carlos’ (USC) Department of Sociology and Anthropology, include aerated water bottles and a priceless ceramic ware believed to be smuggled into Cebu in the 16th century.

Prof. Jose Eleazar “Jobers” Bersales, department head, said ginger ale bottles unearthed during the digging of a subway tunnel at the Plaza Independencia for the South Road Properties are “the precursor of today’s soft drinks.”

Torpedo bottles manufactured by the A.S. Watson and Company of Hong Kong and Manila were discovered by Bersales and his team last month.

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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