Time: 2pm to 3:30pm AEDT
Date: Friday, 24 November 2023
Speaker: Anna Pineda
Venue: Room 3.369, HC Coombs Building and Online via Zoom
Meeting ID: 830 8408 0910
The practice of using earthenware vessels as receptacles for burials has been prominent in Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) since the Neolithic, but became more prominent during the Palaeometallic Period. Comparisons on vessel forms, designs, and manufacturing techniques have allowed archaeologists to propose possible traditions—that is, indicating shared beliefs and practices.
Bulbeck (2017) proposed four possible jar burial traditions which include interment found in the Philippines, two of which included the Middle (Central) Philippines tradition and the Western Mindanao tradition. The Middle Philippines is characterised by secondary burials inside jars, while the Western Mindanao tradition is described to have anthropomorphic designs, and may be made with either limestone or clay. Jar burials found throughout East Nusa Tenggara are grouped in the Nusatenggara tradition, characterised by sharing similarities, and mostly from being isolated from other regions.
However, both anthropomorphic and zoomorphic icons on burial covers that are commonly found on earthenware from Western Mindanao are also found on some jars belonging to the Middle Philippines Tradition. Moreover, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic designs on earthenware vessels stylistically similar to those found in Western Mindanao were found in jar burial sites in Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia.
This study will explore the possibility of these styles being deliberate choices for specific mortuary practices that may have been shared by communities throughout Western Philippines, and exploring their possible connection to the jar burial sites with similar stylistic designs found in Nusa Tenggara.
From the Philippines, Anna will look into the manufacturing similarities of jar burials from Mindanao (Ayub Cave), Palawan (Pacaldero Cave and Manunggul Cave), and from Negros Island (Magsuhot Site). From Indonesia, she will look into the jar burial and earthenware from Alor Island (Kolana Site). Taking into consideration the similarities of manufacturing techniques, including primary formation, surface decorations, and mortuary analysis, Anna hopes to expand on social mortuary practices, based on production and utilisation of these jars as signals of shared beliefs during this period.
Bulbeck, D. 2017. "Traditions of Jars as Mortuary Containers in the Indo-Malaysian Archipelago," in New Perspectives in Southeast Asian and Pacific Prehistory (Terra Australis 45). Edited by P. J. Piper, H. Matsumura, and D. Bulbeck, pp. 141-164. Australia: ANU Press.
Dizon, E. Z. 1998. "Vessels to the Afterlife," in Kasaysayan: The Story of the Filipino People, vol. 2. Edited by G. S. Casal, E. Z. Dizon, W. P. Ronquillo, and C. G. Salcedo, pp. 93-112. Hong Kong: Asia Publishing Company Limited.