[Paper] Collaborative and Indigenous Archaeology in the Northern Philippines

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New paper in Advances in Archaeological Practice
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/aap.2016.7

Recent trends in the practice of archaeology have seen the emergence of the active involvement of stakeholders in the research process. This is an important development, given that the relationship between archaeologists and the communities that they work with has been tenuous, particularly when archaeological findings contest ethnic identities. As a case in point, the findings of the Ifugao Archaeological Project (Philippines) question the bases of Ifugao identity. Ifugao identity is centered on wet-rice production and resistance to colonialism. Previously, the dating of the inception of the Ifugao rice terraces was placed at 2,000 years ago. The findings of the Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP), however, suggest that the construction of the terraces coincided with the arrival of the Spanish in the northern Philippines. Initially, this finding did not sit well the larger Ifugao descendant communities, but, as our article narrates, the pursuit to actively involve stakeholders in the research process resolved this issue. Our experience in Ifugao has shown that the inclusion of the voices of stakeholders in the interpretation of the past is inadequate because it suggests that indigenous stakeholders are simply contributors to, and not co-investigators of, research projects. As our work in Ifugao demonstrates, primary stakeholders are now co-investigators (exemplified by this coauthored article).

Source: Ifugao Archaeology | Advances in Archaeological Practice | Cambridge Core

Ifugao’s terraces much younger than thought

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Philippines history books may need a rewrite as new findings from archaeologists put the age of the world-famous Ifugao rice terraces to only 300-400 years old, rather than the 2,000 they were originally thought to be. The older date was based largely on untested assumptions that have since become ‘fact’, while the new data is derived from radiocarbon dating retrieved from a sample of sites across the region.

Nagacadan Rice Terraces (Kiangan, Ifugao)

Ifugao Rice Terraces may be younger than we think
Rappler, 29 April 2015

The Ifugao Rice Terraces may not be as ancient as our grade school history books would have us believe.

A team of scientists are set to present new findings that peg the age of the iconic rice terraces at 300 or 400 years instead of the long-assumed age of 2,000 years.

This means that, far from pre-dating Spanish colonization, the Ifugao Rice Terraces may be just as old as some colonial-period churches.

The earlier dates were arrived at based on radiocarbon-dating and paleoethnobotanical remains found in the rice terraces, said Stephen Acabado, director of the Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP).

Full story here.

Negritos or Malays: Who are the original inhabitants of the Philippines?


When I was younger, I remember reading in a Filipino children’s book that the Filipinos were made up of a migratory Malay population. I didn’t think much of it then until this article came up which challenges the notion of the indigenous Filipino.

Who are the indigenous?
The Philippine Inquirer, 12 February 2008
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