U.P. archaeologists find ancient site in Misamis Oriental dating back to 3,000 BC

Bobby Lagsa

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U.P. archaeologists find ancient site in Misamis Oriental dating back to 3,000 BC

Bobby Lagsa

Archeologists find several artifacts at the Calumat site, including obsidian stones used as tools by Homo sapiens

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Archeologists from the University of the Philippines (UP) have unearthed ancient artifacts dating back to 3,000 BC in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental, a town 25 kilometers from this city.

Leee Anthony Neri from the UP Archaeological Studies Program said that they discovered the site in Calumat, Alubijid.

The archeological find sits on top of a hill overlooking the town proper and the national highway. The hill could be a natural fortress as it has a 360-degree view of the area. Adjacent to the site is a house and communication and water towers. 

Several artifacts found at the site are said to be dating back to 3,000 BC. Among the artifacts are obsidian stones used as tools by Homo sapiens (modern man) living in the area.

Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as an extrusive igneous rock made mostly of silica. 

Neri said that this period belongs to the Neolithic period. Australian archaeologist V. Gordon Childe coined the term Neolithic Revolution in 1935 to describe the radical and important period of change in which humans began cultivating plants, breeding animals for food, and forming permanent settlements. The advent of agriculture separated Neolithic people from their Paleolithic ancestors.

Neri, along with a dozen archeologists and students from UP dug up portions of the site, revealing what could be walls of what was once a structure made of limestones.

There are 5 dig sites at the Calumat site measuring 2×2 and 1×1 square meters and below 1 meter deep.

But what was surprising was that their discovery was not only limited to the Neolithic age – it also included artifacts from 500 BC, and the 13th to 15th centuries.

Pieces of Sa/win Kalanay potteries dating back to 500 BC as well as fragments of Chinese porcelains were found at the archeological site.

“This proves that the Calumat site was continually occupied by early men,” Neri said.

Neri believes that the Sa/win Kalanay potteries are the same potteries from what is now Vietnam.

He said that as time passed by, the Calumat site was covered by soil.

“The site is quite shallow, so it is easy for us to recover, but the problem is that the site [has] been continually plowed through agriculture and that explains the fragmented potteries,” Neri said.

ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS. This photo shows some of the artifacts found in the Calumat archaeological site in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

TOOLS. Archaeologists also discover stone tools at the Calumat archaeological site in Alubijid, Misamis Oriental. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

He said that the obsidian stone tools are the same with obsidian tools found in Indonesia.

Neri said they will put the artifacts under X-ray fluorescence (XRF) to determine if the obsidians they found in Calumat shares the same chemical components with other obsidian stone tools found in other countries.

“Certainly, stones (tools) cannot move itself, it has to have human intervention,” he said.

For Neri, this proves that the early settlers in Misamis Oriental have already traded with other countries as early as 500 BC with the Sa/win Kalanay potteries. 

Alubijid Mayor Alvin Labis said they will move for the protection of the site as this is a priceless find in their town, “extending our history as far as 3,000 BC.”

Labis added that they will cordon the area and limit access to the site as people might think there is a gold mine in the area.

“We will cordon the discovery site to prevent further damage of the site, negotiate with the land owner to buy the land,” he said.

The Calumat hill site was already damaged with the widening of the national highway in 2014

“We strongly recommend for the protection of the site…this is the history of our people, not just from Alubijid, these are also cultural heritage,” Neri said.

The National Museum will be inspecting the Calumat site this month and recommend the conservation of the area.

“We are happy with the discovery in our town as this extend our history to ancient settlement,” Labis said. – Rappler.com

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