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4000 Years of Migration and Cultural Exchange

4000 Years of Migration and Cultural Exchange: The Archaeology of the Batanes Islands, Northern Philippines OPEN ACCESS

Peter Bellwood
Eusebio Dizon
Series: Terra Australis
Volume: 40
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: ANU Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5hgz91
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  • Book Info
    4000 Years of Migration and Cultural Exchange
    Book Description:

    The project reported on in this monograph has been concerned with the archaeology of the Batanes Islands, an archipelago that must have been settled quite early in the process of Austronesian dispersal from Taiwan southwards into the Philippines. A multi-phase archaeological sequence covering the past 4000 years for the islands of Itbayat, Batan, Sabtang and Siayan is presented, extending from the Neolithic to the final phase of Batanes prehistory, just prior to the late 17th century arrivals of foreign navigators such as Jirobei (Japan) and William Dampier (England), followed by the first Spanish missionaries. So far, no traces of preceramic settlement have been found in Batanes, but the archaeological sequence there from the Neolithic onwards, like that in the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon, is now one of the best-established in the Philippines.

    eISBN: 978-1-925021-28-8
    Subjects: Archaeology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Peter Bellwood and Eusebio Dizon

    The project reported on in this monograph has been concerned with the archaeology of the Batanes Islands, an archipelago that must have been settled quite early in the process of Austronesian dispersal from Taiwan southwards into the Philippines. A multi-phase archaeological sequence covering the past 4000 years for the islands of Itbayat, Batan, Sabtang and Siayan is presented in the following chapters, extending from the Neolithic to the final phase of Batanes prehistory, just prior to the late 17thcentury arrivals of Jirobei, William Dampier, and the first Spanish missionaries. So far, no traces of preceramic settlement have been found...

  2. Peter Bellwood, Eusebio Dizon and Armand Mijares

    This chapter describes the layout of excavations and the stratigraphy revealed in Torongan and Reranum caves on Itbayat Island, occupied between 4000 and 3000 years ago, together with the major hill-top habitation site of Anaro, with its circle-stamped pottery and prolific evidence for working of Taiwan nephrite and slate between 3000 and 2000 years ago. Also discussed are the excavations at Mitangeb on Siayan Island, which appears to have served as a satellite settlement from Itbayat about 2000 years ago.

    Itbayat Island has a land area of 92.80 square km and is the largest island in Batanes. It is basically...

  3. Peter Bellwood, Atholl Anderson and Eusebio Dizon

    This chapter identifies a major eruption of the Iraya volcano about 1500 years ago that buried many regions of central and northern Batan Island. It continues onwards to describe the layout of excavations and the stratigraphy revealed in the open sites of Sunget, Mahatao, Naidi, Payaman and Tayid, all buried beneath the Iraya ash. Excavations of post-eruption occupation layers in a number of caves and rockshelters are also described, and it is interesting to note that none of these caves or shelters produced any evidence for very ancient (pre-Neolithic) occupation. They seem to have been used mainly for occupation in...

  4. Peter Bellwood and Eusebio Dizon

    This chapter is focused on the site complex near Savidug village, roughly half way down the eastern coast of Sabtang Island, facing across a sea passage to the southwestern coastline of Batan. The Sabtang site complex includes an impressiveijangof sheer volcanic rock, which we surveyed. A sand dune to the north, close to Savidug village itself, contained two distinct archaeological phases separated by about a millennium of non-settlement in the site. We also excavated another small late prehistoric shell midden at Pamayan, inland from Savidug village.

    In 2002, brief visits for reconnaissance purposes by the Asian Fore-Arc Project...

  5. Peter Bellwood and Eusebio Dizon

    This chapter describes the radiocarbon dated chronology of all the sites excavated in the Batanes Islands, and groups the assemblages into four dated phases that cover the past 4000 years. The major sites excavated between 2002 antd 2007, on Itbayat, Siayan, Batan and Sabtang Islands, have been described in the previous three chapters. Here, it is necessary to consider absolute chronology as derived from C14 dates, to place each site in relative chronological order with respect to other sites, and to consider the issue of phases within Batanes prehistory. The latter are a little difficult to distinguish since most of...

  6. Peter Bellwood, Eusebio Dizon and Alexandra De Leon

    This chapter describes the sequential changes that occurred in pottery shape and decoration during the 4000 years of recorded Batanes prehistory. The major assemblages discussed come from Torongan Cave, Reranum rockshelter and Anaro on Itbayat, Mitangeb on Siayan Island, Sunget on Batan, and Savidug Dune Site on Sabtang.

    The sequence of change in pottery form and decoration presented here for Batanes, covering almost 4000 years, is only matched within the Philippines by the related sequence from the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon, most recently analysed by Ogawa (2000, 2002), Mijares (2006) and Hung (2008; Hung et al. 2011; Carson et...

  7. Judith Cameron

    This chapter describes the spindle whorls recovered from the sites of Sunget, Anaro and Savidug Dune Site. The majority belong to the period between approximately 1200 BC and AD 1.

    The technology of textiles revolves around the preparation of fibres to produce thread suitable for loom weaving. During the Neolithic period in South China, a simple device called the hand spindle was developed for this purpose. Comprised of a weight (whorl) and a shaft (rod) designed to keep the weight vertical, the hand spindle twists fibres mechanically to extend their length before being woven on looms. While the length of...

  8. Peter Bellwood and Eusebio Dizon

    This chapter describes the many portable artefacts found during the Batanes investigations, with the exceptions of pottery (chapter 6), spindle whorls (chapter 7) and nephrite (chapter 9). The main categories discussed in this chapter are ground, polished and hammer-dressed stone, baked clay (for earrings), shell, bone, and other relatively young archaeological materials such as glass and metal.

    The portable artefacts from the Batanes archaeological sites come from both excavated and surface contexts. Surface finds came from all sites investigated, perhaps most prolifically from the site of Anaro on Itbayat. The surface finds from here are difficult to date individually since...

  9. Hsiao-chun Hung and Yoshiyuki Iizuka

    Nephrite (jade) ornaments, especially ear-ornaments, are among the most attractive artefacts in Southeast Asian archaeology. As Loofs-Wissowa stated (1980-81: 57): “Ear-ornaments in general seem to have played, and are still playing in some societies, a greater role in Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia than almost anywhere else in the world..…” Because of the beautifully wrought shapes and enchanting translucent colours of nephrite or jadeitite ornaments, generations of archaeologists have asked who made them, during which time period, with what kind of manufacturing process, using which trading networks, and for what purpose.

    In the Philippines, several thousand tools of...

  10. Philip J. Piper, Noel Amano Jr., Shawna Hsiu-Ying Yang and Terry O’Connor

    This chapter describes the analysis and interpretation of the terrestrial vertebrate remains from the islands of Itbayat and Sabtang. The results indicate that pigs were present in the islands from the earliest recognised phases of colonization and were the only large mammal resource during the prehistoric period, from at least 1200 BC until after AD 1000, when the goat was introduced into the islands. Dogs appear to be present by at least 500 BC, as well as a species of civet cat from a similar or slightly earlier date on Itbayat, that has now been extirpated from the island.

    In...

  11. Fredeliza Campos

    The recovery of fish bone assemblages of Neolithic to recent date (1200 BC to AD 1500) in Batanes has generated significant new information on the early fishing practices of the region. As part of a wide-ranging project to understand the palaeoenvironmental history and human prehistory of the islands, the analysis of the fish remains suggests utilization of inshore and offshore marine species dating back as far as 1200 BC. In particular, the results show consumption of the common dolphinfishCoryphaena hippurusL., a pelagic bony fish hunted and much revered by the present-day inhabitants of the islands. The presence of...

  12. Katherine Szabó, Shawna Hsiu-Ying Yang, Timothy Vitales and Brent Koppel

    Midden shell was present at a number of the sites excavated in the Batanes during the course of this project. While sample sizes and states of preservation are highly variable, the variety in terms of site type, geographic location, and chronology allows for a summary overview of shellfish exploitation throughout the prehistoric sequence of the Batanes Islands. Drawing upon these variables, we will situate each assemblage within its spatio-temporal context and compare and contrast midden shell deriving from different islands, different geographic situations (e.g. sea caves, inland shelters, open sites) and different time periods.

    Due largely to taphonomic factors, molluscan...

  13. Peter Bellwood and Eusebio Dizon

    The Batanes research has covered 4000 years of prehistory, with evidence gleaned from many archaeological sites located on four different islands. The chronological sequence of changes in artefacts and their stylistic attributes, especially in pottery, Taiwan nephrite and other lithic artefacts (Fig. 14.1), will form a keystone in the broader understanding of northern Philippine prehistory and relations with adjacent regions. Archaeological data can often be frustrating in their ambiguity, scarcity and level of preservation, but within the whole corpus of data from Batanes there are many observations that can be made with a high degree of confidence.

    Some of these...