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Cebuís archaeological finds on display

First Posted 13:17:00 06/03/2009

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Rare and priceless finds of Cebu-based archaeologists are on display at an ongoing exhibit at the University of San Carlos.

The items, unearthed by members of the University of San Carlos' (USC) Department of Sociology and Anthropology, include aerated water bottles and a priceless ceramic ware believed to be smuggled into Cebu in the 16th century.

Prof. Jose Eleazar ?Jobers? Bersales, department head, said ginger ale bottles unearthed during the digging of a subway tunnel at the Plaza Independencia for the South Road Properties are ?the precursor of today's soft drinks.?

Torpedo bottles manufactured by the A.S. Watson and Company of Hong Kong and Manila were discovered by Bersales and his team last month.

The Manila operations of the A.S. Watson began in 1884 and ended in the 1990s.

Aerated water bottles manufactured by Cebu-based companies, Sunlight Aerated Water Company and Sunshine Aerated Water Company, in the 1920s were unearthed from the same area.

Cebu has been a major trade player in Asia for centuries. This is the reason why USC archaeologists found rare ceramic wares in the province.

The Skuhothai greenish-gray bowls circa 1400 to 1500 showed that the province was witness to ceramic trade and the presence of Vietnamese and Thai wares as a result of a ban on the export of Chinese trade ware from 1368 to 1567.

A medium-sized dish with the motif of an ox gazing at the moon circa 1400 to 1500, believed to be smuggled into Cebu from China ?during the Ming gap, when foreign trading was banned in China,? was also discovered.

Also on display is a 14-karat to 18-karat gold necklace, measuring 1.1 meters long and weighing 34.1 grams, which was recovered from the burial site of a native Filipina in Boljoon, and a gold burial face mask found at the Plaza Independencia.

Bersales said the bottles and ceramic ware are all archaeological finds from the three digging sites in the province, including the Argao Pueblo Plaza project spearheaded by the Committee on sites, relics and structures of the Cebu provincial government from Dec. 3 to 22, 2008 at the old Spanish pueblo site of Argao; the Boljoon Archaeological Project Phase IV conducted by the USC Department of Sociology and Anthropology from March 24 to April 15, this year at the Boljoon church plaza; and the Plaza Independencia Archaeological Monitoring project conducted October 2008 and April and May. /Editorial Assistant Bernadette A. Parco

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