FEATURE: Understanding archaeological finds in Ilocos and Cordillera in the last decade

VIGAN CITY — Interest in archaeology is not only a way of discovering the past of a place or region, but also a precious means of understanding and preserving its history and culture. 

The National Museum of the Philippines Ilocos Region Complex in this city will share the archaeological findings of the Ilocos and Cordillera in the last decade on September 13, 8am-12pm, through the lecture of Dr. Michael Armand P. Canilao, said Maria Lourdes I. Ingel, administrative officer of the museum.

Pre-Spanish discovery in the 16th century in Northern Luzon and their impact to the present will also be discussed during the forum open to those in the academe, teachers, cultural workers, and those interest in Ilocos archaeology.

“Dr. Canilao’s lecture will give insights that could help bridge our understanding of the historico-cultural links among communities in northwestern Luzon as well as the region’s activities with traders from overseas,” said Ingel.

“He will present his studies on routes of coastal, riverine and mountain exchanges from an early period. In so doing, the audience may be inspired to do similar researches given the rich archaeological potential of the region.”

The event is a joint project of the  National Museum of the Philippines and the House of Representatives, Office of the First Congressional District of Ilocos Sur.

“In 2011 and 2012, Dr. Canilao led a team of archaeologists from the University of the Philippines Diliman and the National Museum in conducting one season of exploration and two seasons of preliminary archaeological excavations in Ilocos Sur, ” said Ingel.

The Ilocos Sur Archaeological Project (ISAP) was initiated by the people of Ilocos Sur through then Vice Governor Deogracias Victor B. Savellano, now the congressman of the first district.

“In unearthing artifacts, the oldest of which dating back to the twelfth century, the data collected contributed to knowledge on Ilocos region’s early history since the pre-Spanish contact period,” he added.

Prior to the ISAP, Dr. Canilao began his studies on the development of settlements and gold trading networks in the neighboring Cordillera region. He pursued this interest for his Masters in Anthropology, and in Environment and Urban Geography. Using remote sensing and satellite imagery to complement his ethnohistorical methods in archaeology, he continued this research interest for his PhD studies in Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago which he completed in December 2018.

Dr. Canilao is an Associate Professor at the UP-Archaeological Studies Program, a National Museum of the Philippines Research Associate, and Scientific Affiliate of the Collections Center of The Field Museum Chicago, Illinois. (AMB/ICR/PIA Ilocos Sur)