Quezon Fieldschool 2012

Quezon Fieldschool 2012: Collection Management of Artifacts excavated by Robert Fox

In the Philippines, the Tabon cave complex holds outstanding record of prehistoric human activities beginning 47,000 years up to the late Holocene around 2000 years. The archaeological investigation was pioneered by Robert Fox who discovered rich collections of archaeological assemblages comprising human remains, stone tools, ceramics and ornaments. The prehistoric periods document several pulses of the migrations of human populations, technological innovations, aspects of self-expressions, patterns of subsistence behavior, and mortuary practices. The significance of these sites and its cultural properties including their authenticities has fostered the declaration of Tabon Cave complex as a national treasure.

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However, our non-renewable rich cultural resources that constitute the prehistoric heritage are at risk. The archaeological collections stored in the local branch of National Museum in Quezon Palawan are inadequately curated and lack long-term preservation management. As a result, collections are rapidly deteriorating due to inadequacies of normal maintenance. From August 2-16 2013, a group of scientists and researchers from the National Museum of the Philippines, in collaboration with researchers from the French Museum of Natural History, Sangiran Museum in Indonesia, University of the Philippines Diliman and Silipakorn University in Thailand worked on the artifacts stored in the Quezon, Palawan branch of the National Museum with the main goal of organizing the collection and conducting preliminary analyses on the materials. The activity is part of the PREHSEA Case Study of project spearheaded by the PREHsea and National Museum.