July 8, 2012 in Cordillera
By DANIEL CODAMON
KIANGAN, Ifugao — After more than three weeks of excavation, the Ifugao Archaelogical Project (IAP) disclosed its findings on the old Kiyyangan Village here considered one of the earliest settlements in the province as mentioned in the “Tuwali-Ifugao” origin-mythology where Ifugao ancestors “Bugan and Wigan” lived.
Historically, old Kiyyangan is now known as the town of Kiangan.
The excavation site, of the Kiyyangan Village, is located four kilometers away from Barangay Poblacion and consists of about one kilometer long of almost flatland. It is flanked by the Ambangal River in the west where a mini-hydro power plant now stands and the Ibulao River in the east.
This archaeological investigation constitutes the first field school season of the IAP, a community-led project in partnership with the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement, Inc., the local government unit of Kiangan, the National Museum of the Philippines, University of the Philippines Archaeological Studies Program, and the University of Guam.
The investigation aimed to have a unified community on heritage management, provide capacity building for conducting scientific research, contribute to the conservation program for the Ifugao rice terraces, provide scientific basis to finally settle the age of the rice terraces, and establish an Ifugao-Cordillera chronology.
The IAP reported that the crew opened five trenches or excavation units to obtain subsurface information about the site in which trench 1 provided a buried irrigation ditch called “alak” in the Ifugao-Tuwali dialect; trench 2 showed a shallow river terrace, trench 3 and 4 offered a valuable information on the life of the old Kiyyangan settlers; and trench 5 held a large jar used for dog burial.
Trench 3, provided three occupational layers and three distinct pottery frequency like – cooking jars were found in the upper layer; cooking jars, water jars, and trade ware ceramics in the second layer; and water jars in the lower level.
The prevalence of cooking jar shards in the upper level suggests that the area was used as a rice field where cooking jars containing cooked rice were brought.
The prevalence of water jars in the second level indicates that a house once occupied this area since water jars are not transported owing to their size and weight.
Ceramics in the lower level predate the arrival of the Spaniards in Northern Luzon with the complete absence of trade ware ceramics like stoneware and porcelain.
The IAP said that although trade ware ceramics were being traded in the lowlands as early as the 10th century, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact period when the old Kiyyangan Village was first established based on the ceramics alone and hoped that C14 dates and soil analyses will also provide evidence for initial rice cultivation as well as the pre-rice landscape and vegetation cover of the area.
Based on ethnographic sources, rice from the “payo” (ricefield) and sweet potatoes from swidden fields called “habal” by the Ifugaos were the main sources of carbohydrates of the inhabitants of Old Kiyyangan and there is a high possibility that taro and yam were also cultivated in the area.
The analyses of plant remains provided information about the landscape during the different occupational period of Old Kiyyangan, their subsistence strategies, and an idea of what food they consumed since food resources correlate with the terrain and amount of cultivation.
The IAP also reported that the major protein source of the Kiyyangan settlers was deer meat since 70 percent of the identified animal remains recovered at the site belong to “Rusa Mariannus” or Philippine brown deer; 25 percent, pig bones; while 5 percent are chicken, dog, monitor lizard, and fresh water fish.
These indicate that the people that settled the site relied more on hunting than on animal husbandry for subsistence and that majority of the bones recovered exhibited evidence of butchery suggesting that the animals were mainly utilized as food. However, a number of bone fragments showed signs of being used as ornaments or tools such as polished pig canines probably used as bracelets and worked deer antlers.
The IAP concluded that the excavation of the Old Kiyyangan Village provides the opportunity to look at an early Ifugao village life and that the artifacts recovered suggest a thriving community activity such as hunting deer and probably cultivating rice, taro, and sweet potatoes.
Also seen was their everyday life with several pots providing information on their offerings to the spirit world and evidence from the excavation also told that there were at least three occupational episodes, the village was abandoned at least two times then resettled and the current agricultural land constitutes the fourth occupational period.
These abandonment and resettlement episodes might be related to the Spanish arrival in the region caused by the punishing expeditions in Ifugao by a Spaniard named Galvez that is contained in a Spanish Report that Galvez’ forces torched 18 villages in 1832 and one of these is a village called Qiangan. # nordis.net