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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Boljoon Museum: Archaeological findings housed in "Ang Karaang Bolhoon" gallery

A gold earring. The report also shows that the large bent tube gold earring was found on what was once the right ear of a male burial. A similar example is found in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gold Collection taken from Surigao and is dated to the 14th up to the 16th century.

“Boljoon is rich in heritage now because it is the only town that has evidence to show pre-Hispanic times,” remarked University of San Carlos' Jose Eleazar Bersales, head of the excavation project. The excavation report shows that their finds came from the Pre-Spanish (1550-1650) and Early Spanish (1700s-1800s) periods. Bersales further said that it is the first time that an earring was found on a male, that a ceramic bowl has Chinese characters as part of its design, and that it is first evidence throughout Cebu of a pre-Hispanic times.

The Burials 
A total of nine burials in various states of internment were uncovered at a depth of 60-70 cm. This brings to a total of 26 burials from the first excavation phase to this current phase. The excavated area is estimated to total to 42 square meters. Noticeably, the males were buried with their hands clasped across their chests while the females were buried with their hands covering their genital area. The team also found two distinct positions in these burials - one group comprises a North-South direction where the head is on the southern end while another group is composed of an East-West position where the head is oriented to the East. The practice of burying the dead with ceramic wares and weapons was thought to be a Satanic practice in the Spanish era, so, this settlement is clearly non-Christian,” Bersales said.

Unlike other burials found near the shore or beach, no net sinkers or shells were found lining the grave of this site. He explained that this could mean that these people were not fisherfolks, but were probably trading or bartering cotton with Chinese merchants. Bersales said that the ceramic ware came from Anxi in Fujian Province, China and is decorated with blue leaf and Chinese characters. It was covering the face of a male burial and the characters are roughly translated as “A new leaf means a new wish.”

A white ware powder box was also found on the left area of a female burial wearing an orange carnelian bead, a tiny red glass bead and a tiny gold bead. The carnelian and glass bead probably came from India or China as there is no local source for the gemstone or the glass. Also found in the burial were two pieces of coral stone which had holes indicating that these were worn in the hip area or pelvic region, probably as an “anting-anting” or amulet. A light olive-colored bottle or jar was found in the burial believed dated to the end of the Ming Dynasty (1644) or the beginning of the Qing dynasty. A near complete burial of wild pig was also recovered near another burial.

Further, pieces of evidence that were uncovered indicated the Early Spanish period (1700s-1800s) like bronze medallion, square nails, iron lags, a small bronze cross, broken pieces of Chinese ceramics and a Kinamunggay jar.


Chinese Porcelain. Three ceramic dishes made during the time of Chinese Emperor Wan Li, the Zhangzhou period between 1573 and 1620; two bowls from Anxi kiln in Fujian province in China produced between the 1590s and 1620s; and a  jar of the late Ming Dynasty (1590 and 1620)


Gold necklace. Also on display is a 14-karat to 18-karat gold necklace, measuring 1.1 meters long and weighing 34.1 grams, which was recovered from the burial site of a native Filipina in Boljoon, and a gold burial face mask found at the Plaza Independencia.




Japanese Ceramics.


Japanese Ceramics. Dr. Takenory Nogami, a Japanese researcher from the Arita Museum of History, expressed excitement over the discovery of a large dish and a jarlet “emariware” or Japanese porcelain. “The recovered pieces in Boljoon are unique because it is still intact in the aquare,” Nogami told reporters in the Museo sa Sugbo in 2011.

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