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Interested in a field school opportunity? The University of Guam is conducting a field school in the Ifugao Highlands of the Philippines this year. Application deadline is Feb 20.

University of Guam Ifugao Archaeology Field School – 2013

Student-participants will be directly involved in the Ifugao Archaeological Project:

The Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT) landscape in the highland Cordillera, Northern Philippines provides anthropologists with excellent opportunity to understand human-environment interaction. However, the IRT’s past is still uncertain, owing to a dearth of archaeological studies in the region. Models on the origins of the agricultural technology revolves around either a ‘long history’ or the revisionist ‘short history’ models, where the former looks at a 2,000-3,000-year inception of the terraces, while the former suggests a European-colonialism influenced beginnings.
The Ifugao Archaeological Project’s (IAP) recent studies however, suggest a climate-change related subsistence shift in the highlands of the Philippine Cordillera. Results of radiocarbon determinations and palynological analyses suggest a shift from taro-based production to wet-rice cultivation at ca. AD 1300, coinciding with the Little Ice Age that would have made the lowland northern Philippines drier.

Agricultural systems have been one of the focal points of archaeological studies concerning the development of cultural complexity. The relationship of agricultural features to social organization has been almost exclusively linked to each phenomenon. The co-occurrence of complex farming techniques with elaborate architecture and exotic material remains is the standard against which archaeologists measure cultural complexity and dependency on agricultural production.

This interest offers two important contributions to the archaeology of complexity: the first is the identification of a variety of agricultural features, including rock-bordered grid complexes, terraces, dams, floodplain field locations, reservoirs, and irrigation canals. The second contribution has been the recognition that some of these technologies were highly labor intensive and others were land extensive.

More details here.

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