Omar Choa

trainingOmarAs a student of the master programme in archaeology at the University of the Philippines Diliman, I followed the first PREHsea activities before being granted by the French Embassy (Manila) the opportunity to follow training in France. Besides taking the lectures and seminars, I focused on the conservation and study of prehistoric cave fillings: visit of sites, meetings with scientists in charge, training in laboratory.

 

Upon reflection on my research interests and consultation with several faculty members, we collaboratively crafted my study and professional project in maintaining a balanced foundation grounded on the different disciplines in prehistory, while at the same time defining a focus on palaeoenvironmental studies, including contribution to the assessment of the value of prehistoric properties. I therefore decided to conduct a study on clay and guano diagenesis in Tabon Cave in the Philippines, a site of utmost importance in Southeast Asia for having produced some of the earliest modern human remains in the region and one of the key sites featured in the PREHsea project.

Using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction analysis, the aim is to characterise authigenic minerals resulting from diagenetic processes in order to understand past environmental conditions, as well as the taphonomic phenomena that might have operated on the archaeological record in the cave and which thus touch on heritage issues.

At the end of my PREHsea training, I was offered a two year grant from the European Commission in order to enrol in the Erasmus Mundus International Master in Quaternary and Prehistory. I am now currently in the process of developing my masters’ thesis on the same subject.