Maitum Anthropomorphic Potteries

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Sketch of anthropomorphic jar colored image

In 1991, archeologists discovered anthropomorphic secondary burial jars in Ayub Cave, Piñol. Maitum, Sarangani Province, in Mindanao, Philippines. Since this sensational finding, a number of archaeological excavations were conducted to recover these important artifacts. These excavation projects were either government or privately sponsored.

These burial jars are made of earthenware and characterized by their design and form that looks like or suggests human figures with complete or partial facial characteristics. These are earthenware potteries with incisions and cut-out foot-rings. These humanlike forms were associated with metal implements like bracelets. Some jars are decorated with glass beads and shell scoop, spoon, and pendants. Among the anthropomorphic vessels are plain non-anthropomorphic burial jars.

According to scientists, these secondary burial jars date back to the Metal Age. The artifacts were dated to 830 +/-60 B.P. (by a calibrated date of AD 70 to 370) and 1920 +/- 50 B.P. (by a calibrated date of 5 BC to 225 AD). Scientists determined the age of the jars by doing radiocarbon date tests on the soot samples taken from a small earthenware vessel. This small vessel was found inside one of the larger burial jar.

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Potsherd among the artifacts