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12 April 2008
Ancient burial cave discovered in the Philippines

An ancient burial cave was discovered in the Philippine island of Mindanao, south of Manila, and officials have sealed the site to prevent looting of artifacts, many of them jars made from clay. It was not immediately known whether there are other treasures in the cave which was accidentally discovered by quarry diggers in Maitum town in Sarangani province. The latest discovery in the village of Pinol was near another ancient burial site discovered in 1991 where burial jars, shaped in different human forms, had been recovered inside Ayub cave.
     Lingling Jabel, owner of the quarry site, informed local authorities about the find and the site was immediately sealed and security forces are guarding the cave where several burial jars have been recovered. Dr. Eusebio Dizon, curator of the Archaeology Division and chief of the Underwater Archaeology Section of the National Museum, has described Ayub Cave as "the most significant cave in Mindanao" and its finds as "unparalleled in Southeast Asia." A team of experts from the National Museum are expected to arrive in the town to inspect the new cave. The site had been dated to 830 +/-60 B.P. (calibrated date of 70 to 370 CE) and 1920 +/- 50 B.P. (calibrated date of 5 BCE to 225 CE). The radiocarbon dates were obtained from the soot samples taken from the small earthenware vessel found inside one of the anthropomorphic burial jar.
     The provincial government described the cave as a unique and fascinating assemblage of archeological find human faces and figures in earthenware- that depicts Sarangani's cultural wealth was excavated here. It said the recovered potteries were used as secondary burial jars. Its coverings were molded as human heads emulating different facial expressions of happiness, contentment, and even a trace of desolation.

Source: Arab News (11 April 2008)

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