June 23, 2024

RIZAL, Kalinga – Archaeologists and paleontologists from the National Museum and the Museum Nationale d’ Histoire Naturelle, France have resumed archeological diggings at the Elephant Hill in Sitio Greenhills, San Pedro in this town to search  for more evidence of prehistoric man.

Mylene Lising, an archaeologist from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University; and Kevin Baclig of the Cagayan Museum paid a courtesy call to Gov. James Edduba and Mayor Karl Baac to coordinate with the yearly archaeological excavation. They would continue working on their Early Man Project from July 8 to 28. 

Edduba and Baac assured their local government units’ respective support to the team’s endeavor.

Edduba said the provincial government is willing to extend any form of assistance in finding additional artifacts that may help enhance the studies of human history.

Excavation in Rizal started in 2014, and in 2018, the group released the result of their excavations which yielded a 75 percent intact rhinoceros fossil bearing cut marks and percussion marks, and some 50 stone tools and other animal fossils.

The age of the rhinoceros fossil was confirmed at 709,000 years old, and that the butchery marks and stone tools were indirect evidence of the presence of early humans in the Philippines. The fossils are displayed at the National Museum of Natural History.
The Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, France in its press release, stated the Kalinga site,  excavated since 2014 and dated to 709,000 years by several physico-chemical methods (electro-spin resonance, disequilibrium in the Argon family and in the Uranium family, palaeomagnetism), proves the first colonization was actually 10 times older, dating back to the early Middle Pleistocene.

The archaeological excavations uncovered various animal remains, including the monitor lizard, the box turtle, the Philippine brown deer, the stegodon (a cousin of the elephant) and the rhinoceros, which has been extinct in the Philippines since at least 100,000 years ago.

How these animals and hominins would have reached the islands at those times is still unclear.

The archaeological investigations of the Kalinga site are primarily funded by the French Department for Foreign Affairs, the National Museum of the Philippines, the University of the Philippines, and the National Geographic Society. – Peter Balocnit