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North Cebu town burial site yields 2,000-3,000-year-old artifacts

By Eddie O. Barrita

CEBU CITY, April 11 – A burial site unearthed in the vicinity of the San Remegio Parish in the northern Cebu town of San Remegio serves as a window to the pre-Hispanic Cebuano lifestyle.

”We have our knowledge of the past further back by maybe even 2,000 to 3,000 years,” professor Jojo R. Bersales said.

”And we will be able to provide evidence that will help us understand how our Cebuano ancestors lived and died,” he said.

The team of archaeologists from the University of San Carlos (USC) and the National Museum dug up earthenware pottery whose designs resemble those found in the Philippine Metal Age, between 900 AD and 500 BC.

”The absence of Chinese and other Asian trade ware ceramics also helped provide a date much older than those found in Boljoon, as well as Plaza Independencia. This may be the first time that a Metal Age site has been uncovered in Cebu,” the group said.

The first round of excavation, which fielded 15 USC archaeology students, was funded by a grant form the USC, with logistical support from the Cebu Provincial Government through its Provincial Tourism and Heritage Council. The dig also had the permission of the National Museum, the Archdiocese of Cebu and the Municipality of San Remigio.

Bersales and Dr. Ame Garong of the National Museum believed the site contains burials dating 1,000 to 2,000 years back. Experts, though, said only radiocarbon dating of some of the bone samples can provide a more accurate data on the age of the recovered items.

Another significant find is a large Philippine Melon Shell (Melo diadema) crafted into some kind of a scoop with red-slip pottery fragments.

Experts said the site appears to have been untouched by looters, so they are certain to uncover more information on the culture of Cebuanos before the coming of Asian and Arab Traders.

The excavation unit at the municipal beach right across the church has also recovered a midden, or a heap of trash full of broken pottery, shells and clay net sinkers. (PNA) DCT/LAP/EB/re

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