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  • The Archaeology of Central Philippines, A Study Chiefly of the Iron Age and Its Relationships
  • Barbara Thiel
The Archaeology of Central Philippines, A Study Chiefly of the Iron Age and Its Relationships, rev. ed. Wilhelm G. Solheim II. Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines, 2002. 259 pp., 42 tables, 50 plates.

This book is a revised version of the book originally published in 1964, but written in 1959. The author has written the new edition because the first edition has been out of print for many years, and because he wants to bring up to date concepts of the pottery traditions proposed in the first edition. He emphasizes that this is not a new book presenting or summarizing the archaeology of the central Philippines.

The first edition had six chapters. The revised edition has eight chapters plus a postscript. The first four chapters are the same as the first edition. Chapter 5 presents new data from 1959 to 1983. Chapter 6, "Relationships Through Space and Time," is patterned after Chapter 5, "Internal and External Relationships," in the first edition, but is different. Chapter 7, "The Philippine Iron Age," is like Chapter 6, "The [End Page 392] Philippine Iron Age," in the first edition, but is updated. Chapter 8, "Cultural Reconstruction," is a brief chapter that presents a framework of Philippine prehistory and a discussion of his concept of the Nusantao boat/trading people. Chapters 5 through 8 were written in 1982. The 1999 postscript is an update that summarizes changes and additions from 1983 to 1999.

Chapter 1 is an introduction that presents the purpose of the original study, which was to examine H. Otley Beyer's 1947 hypothesis for the introduction of Iron Age culture to the Philippines: that it was brought from the south with the Malays. This hypothesis was to be examined based on new data, primarily pottery. At that time there were no recognized pottery types for that area, so it was necessary to set up a system of ceramic analysis. As a beginning, several pottery complexes were to be set up for the Philippines using published descriptive information. Examination of the new data would show whether the pottery complexes were valid (p. 2). To examine the hypothesis, five research questions were proposed. The new data came from two sources: material from Solheim's excavations in the Philippines in 1951 and 1953 and the collection from the 1922–1925 University of Michigan expedition to the Philippines (the Guthe Collection). This chapter also includes the criteria used in the pottery classification, which is based on methods of decoration.

Chapter 2, "Iron Age Pottery," presents the three major complexes of Philippine Iron Age pottery—the Kalanay, Novaliches, and Bau pottery complexes—and a minor group, the Loboc pottery. These pottery complexes are described by descriptions and drawings of the decorations of each complex, and descriptions and profiles of vessel forms. There is also a distribution map of the complexes.

Chapter 3, "The Kalanay Cave Site, Masbate, Philippines," describes the site and Solheim's excavations in 1951 and 1953. This is a small burial cave that contained a large amount of pottery, a few stone and iron tools, a few other artifacts, and some fragmentary skeletal remains. The pottery was in sherds, but some vessels could be restored. The pottery belongs to the Kalanay pottery complex, and was divided into two groups, the Kalanay and Bagupantao. Each of these is subdivided into types, which are described by paste, surface, thickness, forms, size, and inferred manufacturing techniques. They are illustrated with profiles, drawings, and photographs, and there are tables with a variety of information. The cultural interpretation of the pottery is also discussed.

Chapter 4, "The Guthe Collection," constitutes 40 percent of the text of the book. This material was collected by Carl Guthe of the University of Michigan expedition to the central and southern Philippines in 1922–1925. The collection is in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, where Solheim studied it. There are 485 sites in the total collection, 120 caves, 134 burial groungs, and 231 graves. The Chinese and Asiatic porcelains were studied by someone else. Solheim studied the pottery and...


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