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Burials in Anthropomorphic Jars in the Philippines

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2019.47.2.040-047

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Abstract

The fi rst joint study by Russian and Philippine archaeologists addresses an unusual variant of a burial tradition distributed in Island Southeast Asia – burials in anthropomorphic clay jars, found in Ayub Cave (southern Mindanao Island, Philippines), excavated by specialists from the National Museum of the Philippines in 1991–1992, and tentatively dated to 500 BC to 500 AD. Of special interest are lids of jars shaped as painted human heads with individualized facial features and expressions. The fi nds suggest that Ayub Cave was a necropolis of the tribe elite, and that vessels were produced by a special group of potters using elaborate “prestige technologies”. The Ayub ceramic collection has various parallels relating to clay fi gurines and decoration including painting, among Late Neolithic and Early Metal Age assemblages from the Philippines (Luzon, Palawan, and Negros Islands), Indonesia (Sumba, Flores, and Bali Islands), and other regions of the Pacifi c Basin from Japan (Jomon) and Korea (Early Iron Age burials) to Vanuatu Islands (Lapita culture). These parallels suggest that the source of the anthropomorphic symbolism was the Austronesian migration with one of its routes passing from southern China via Taiwan, the northern Philippines, Mariana Islands, and further south to Melanesia and Polynesia.

About the Authors

A. V. Tabarev
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation
Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090


A. E. Patrusheva
Novosibirsk State University
Russian Federation
Pirogova 1, Novosibirsk, 630090


N. Cuevas
National Museum of the Philippines
Philippines
Padre Burgos Avenue, Rizal Park, Manila, 1000


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For citation:


Tabarev A.V., Patrusheva A.E., Cuevas N. Burials in Anthropomorphic Jars in the Philippines. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2019;47(2):40-47. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2019.47.2.040-047

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