Neha Patil

Archaeology of Porac, Pampanga

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Porac, Pampanga contains areas in and near Babo Balukbuk in Porac that have strong indication of human habitation, according to investigations published on the University of the Philippines Archaeological Studies Program website. Later test excavations confirmed this conclusion through the presence of materials dated around 12th century to 17th century C.E.

Contents

Archaeological History

The archaeology in Porac, Pampanga started with the first excavation conducted in 1935-1936 by G.M. Goodall and two Filipino assistants, then from 1959-1960 by Robert Fox, and followed by an archaeological impact assessment by the people from the National Museum. The three most recent excavations were in the sugar plantation owned by Nestor Dizon in 1999, 2001, and 2002. The excavation site, also called the Dizon-1 site, was officially named after him.

Results / Findings

The excavation team was able to excavate approximately 24 x 28 meters of land to an average of 90 cm from the surface.

Stratigraphy

The following are the descriptions of stratigraphies without the volcanic eruption correlations according to the article:

  • “Layer 1 (Context 1):
  • Layer 2 (Context 2):
  • Layer 3 (Context 14):
  • Layer 4 (Context 5):
  • Layer 5 etc. (Context 38,65, & 212):
  • Context 239:
  • Ceramics

    Tradeware ceramics recovered from the site were dated as a mixture of 13th to 14th century and 16th century tradewares. Earthenware sherds were ubiquitous and several pot covers were recovered from different stratigraphies. However, no earthenware spindle whorls or net sinkers were recovered.

    Metal Implements

    At least three types of brass bangles, which were associated with burials, and two types of blades, which some have preserve fragments of sheathing or matting.

    Features

    Features recovered were postholes, hearths, middens, and plow marks. The postholes varied in their sizes, and 51 were recorded. Hearth remains were of ash and burnt stones and matrix concentrations. Middens were composed mostly of dumped ceramics.

    Evidences of Tradeware from Neighboring Asian Countries

    There are excavated tradeware ceramics identified to be from China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma. Chinese green lead glaze ware sherds that are known to have originated from the Tang Period were dated from 13th-14th century, which was significantly younger than the time period of the Tang Dynasty. Melendres points out that Addis believes that these are due to the continuation of the Tang tradition into later times. It was also pointed out that the effects of the Chinese trade ban during the Ming Dynasty can be seen from the few early Ming Dynasty blue-and-white ceramics and the presence of ceramics from Thailand, Vietnam, and Burma. Celadon dishes found were similar to those found in the Twante district in Burma, while other celadon plates were most likely associated with Kalong wares from Thailand (15th-16th Century). Ceramics from Central Vietnam were also recovered and are determined to be manufactured in Binh Dinh during the Viet’s conquest of Vijaya. Furthermore, there were also “Swatow” or Zhangzhou type porcelains recovered that are dated to 16th-17th century. Melendres concluded that the presence of the Zhanzhou porcelains tells us that the Babo Balukbuk site was still being used until the arrival of the Spanish forces.

    Analysis

    The recovered artefacts made the team conclude that the Dizon-1 site is a settlement. Their bases were on the several large postholes that may be reconstructed into house plans, the amount of recovered middens and hearths, the general cultural debris scattered, and on the density of the features.

    The following sequence of habitation was also developed:

    1. Before 2,300 b.p.: human habitation
    2. Around 2,300 b.p.: Maraunot eruptive period covers the area with more than three meters of deposit
    3. Around 13th Century C.E.: A settlement grew. The people built sturdy structures. They used earthenwares and stoneware pottery and metal bangles and glass beads, had metal implants and exchanged materials for tradeware ceramics. Rice production and consumption and use burial goods were practiced.
    4. Around 16th Century: The settlement decreased and the area was replaced by ploughed fields for planting rice. It is also suggested that there was a coming different group of people about 200 years later.
    5. Around 500 b.p.: Buag eruptive period covers the area with most likely airborne deposits.
    6. Turn of 20th Century: Land was again utilized for agriculture for the cash crop sugarcane.
    7. 1991: latest eruption of Mt. Pinatubo left a thin additional layer of sandy material.

    The Excavation Team

    The table below contains the names of participants and contributors to the archaeology in Porac, Pampanga:

    References

    Archaeology of Porac, Pampanga Wikipedia


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