NEW ARTIFACT SITE FOUND IN PINOL, SARANGANI
By Edwin G. Espejo
10 Apr 2008
MAITUM, Sarangani (April 10, Special to PhilBoxing.com) – An operator of a bulldozer on Saturday accidentally tumbled upon what possibly could be a repository of ancient skeletal remains that may date back to pre-historic times, a report from the local government of Maitum town in Sarangani revealed.
Earthen jars and broken bones were recovered from the site, located in the village of Pinol, some seven kilometers away from the Maitum town hall in Sarangani province.
Sarangani is approximately 1,200 kilometers south of Manila.
Maitum town mayor Elsie Perrett immediately ordered the site sealed off to prevent looting and contamination of the area.
She also requested experts from the National Museum to inspect the site and conduct a study of the historical significance of the find.
Sarangani governor Miguel Rene Dominguez said he is excited about the new find.
Top photo: A jar approximately 16 inches in height with its head already broken, was among the significant discovery in the new artifact site.
The cave in Pinol, Sarangani Province, where the artifacts have been found.
"I have given orders to secure the area. We do not want to have a repeat of Pinol cave where vandals and looters desecrated the area," Dominguez said in an interview.
This time, he added, the local government will make sure the new find will be preserved and protected.
"These finds, if proven to be pre-historic, will be our legacy to the Filipino people," he added.
In 1991, similar artifacts were found less than a kilometer away from where bulldozer operator Eriberto Ayson accidentally scraped a portion of a quarry hill less than a kilometer from the highway.
National Museum director Dr. Eusebio Dizon said recovered artifacts from Pinol cave in 1991 could date back as far as 2,000 years ago.
Looting however left the Pinol cave in utter disarray and neglect.
But experts from the National Museum were able to recover substantial number of ancient items, some of them still intact. These are now deposited in the museum.
In a report by Carolyn Arguillas in 2002, the "Maitum Jars," as they are referred to now, were described by Dizon as "unparalleled in Southeast Asia" in that it is an exceptional archaeological assemblage.
"The nearly 2000-year old anthropomorphic jars of Maitum, bearing radiocarbon dates of '1930 plus or minus 50 BP (calibrated date of 5 BC to AD 225) and 1830 plus or minus 60 BP (calibrated date of AD 70 to 370),' are unique in that 'they are like portraits of distinct individuals, of specific dead persons whose remains they guard,' Dizon and Santiago said in their book, "Faces from Maitum," Arguillas was quoted in her report.
The new site, which appeared to be a cave, has three chambers but soil formation inside is loose and the danger of a cave-in is a possibility, according to accounts of those who managed to enter the cave before it was ordered sealed off.
Lingling Jabel, who owns the land adjacent to the hill, was able to recover a jar with a shape of a human head. The head was however already broken and its bottom already missing.
Also found were broken sections of what appeared to be a human skeleton. A large broken clay jar was also shown to reporters Wednesday morning. A bowl with intricate design at its base was likewise among those recovered from the site.
Mayor Perrett said all artifacts found in the site should be declared national treasures and told residents in the area that these would be subjected to carbon dating to establish their age.
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