via Archaeologies, 07 August 2020: A historiographical paper about the development and trajectory of Philipine archaeology.
The historical context of archaeology in the Philippines was shaped by colonial influences, and it can be seen through various foreign archaeologists who initially worked and contributed to the archipelago. The study uses the framework of Edward Said’s Orientalism to carefully extract the colonial features of Philippine archaeology through an overview of the discipline’s history from the late nineteenth century up to the present. The study finds that the practice of Philippine archaeology became a hybrid of its western origin and nationalistic view—showcasing a unique blend of indigenous knowledge, scientific advancements, and antiquarian perspective. The discipline also moved away from its western roots as it leans more on actual fieldwork and public archaeological efforts rather than pursue theoretical discourses. The study reveals the importance of nationalism in archaeological practice in postcolonial states in Southeast Asia such as the Philippines as it was used to promote common heritage and unity to its multicultural landscape. Lastly, the paper also presents current developments in the discipline and its influence on future archaeological research.