You are on page 1of 14

Republic of the Philippines University of the Philippines Diliman Archaeological Studies Program A.Y.

2011- 2012

Peopling of the Philippine Islands: A Brief Study on Different Archaeological Theories and Models Concerning Philippine Population History
F. Chua, J. Taveso

In partial fulfilment of the requirements in Archaeo2, Under the mentorship of Prof. Mark Mabanag, Submitted this 8th day of March 2012

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


Abstract This research aims to understand the presently existing theories and models concerning peopling of the Philippine islands. Having said this, this study will look at the different perspectives of archaeologists and other proponents of this subject. Furthermore, the researchers aspire to critically examine data and scientific foundations that gave rise to different ideas with regards to the history of Philippine population, excavations and other significant researches conducted to support these ideas; and the consilience and contradiction existing between these models and theses.

Having the said research questions in mind, the researchers will critically compare and contrast different migration models by theoriesdata and analyses.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


Introduction The explanation of origins has always been considered as a subject of great interest. In Southeast Asia in particular, hypotheses attempting to explain the observed similarities in certain aspects of different cultures have been the focus of discussions for decades. (Flessen 2006) Population background of the Filipino race is aptly necessarynot only on sentimental reasons, but also for further growth of studies which concern the said stimulus. Like other systematic investigations, having different theories and models on a certain topic is inevitable; but observable on these theses, flaws and contradictions amongst them are ubiquitous. On the other hand, consilience is observed between others. Therefore, the researchers felt the immediate need to critically examine presently occurring theories and models, specifically on Philippine population history. Hitherto, the theories that would be examined to emanate such ideas are enumerated, which would further serve as the scope and limitation of the study: Beyers Migration Theory Jocanos Evolution Theory Bellwoods Out-Of-Taiwan Model (Austronesian Diffusion Theory) Solheims Island Origin or Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network
(NMTCN) Theory

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


Furthermore, an overview of such theories are expounded below:

Beyers Migration Theory

Basically, Otley Beyers Migration Theory infers that there were three waves of migration involved after the arrival of what he calls the Dawn Man some 250 kya, this certain species is comparable to other Asian Homo Sapiens like the Java Man and Peking Man. The first wave was the arrival of aborigines whom the Negritos or Aetas, Austaloid Sakai, proto- Malays and Java Man belonged. It was estimated 22,000 years ago via land bridges. From South Asia, the second wave of migrants, the Indonesian came by canoes and boats after the Great Ice Age about 3000 BCE. They introduced bronze and rice terraces. The third were navigators, potters, weavers and blacksmiths. They are the Malays who came before 1 BCE in Mindanao and Sulu. (Beyer 1948)

Jocanos Evolution Theory (Core Population Theory)

Jocanos theory opposes Beyers claim that people in the Philippines descended from people of the Malay Peninsula. Citing the work of Dr. Robert Fox in Palawan and the discovery of the Tabon man (dating 47 000 years old), he expounds that man came earlier to the Philippines than in the Malay Peninsula. (Jocano 1998) Just like other theories, Beyers claims were questioned by Jocano in the part wherein he considered that we descended from the Malays and Aetas. He said that he couldnt conclude things that fast since the only known evidence is pointing out that early people also went to New Guinea, Java, Borneo, and Australia.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


According to Jocano's findings, the people of the prehistoric islands of Southeast Asia were of the same population as the combination of human evolution that occurred in the islands of Southeast Asia about 1.9 million years ago (Jocano 1963). The claimed evidence for this is fossil material found in different parts of the region and the movements of other people from the Asian mainland during historic times. He states that these ancient men cannot be categorized under any of the historically identified ethnic groups of today. As a solution to Beyers misleading claims, Jocano proposed the Evolution Theory (or Core Population Theory) which better explains our origin. Enclosed in this theory is Jocanos belief that early people located near the Philippines such as Ne w Guinea, Java and Borneo arent much different from the first inhabitants of the Philippines which makes their culture and way of living closely similar. As a proof, Jocano said, fossils can be found in the discovered in different parts of Southeast Asia, as well as the recorded migrations of other peoples from the mainland Asia when history began to unfold.

Bellwoods Out-Of-Taiwan Theory

According to Bellwoods theory, as early as 5 000 BCE, an especially potent and versatile culture combining fishing and gardening had developed on the south coast of China. As well as growing their food on land, these maritime gardeners were accomplished at fishing the waters in the Straits of Taiwan from boats with hooks and nets. Between 4 000 and 3 000 BCE, these fishermen-farmers crossed the 150 kilometers of the Straits and settled on Taiwan-- this is evidenced by the similarities

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


between the pottery assemblages of the local Tapenkeng culture (TPK), characterised by cord-marked globular pots with incised everted rims and occasional lug handles or perforated ring feet, and those from sites in Fujian and Guangdong, characterised by potsherds decorated with incised lines, rows of impressed semicircles, and stamped dentate patterns inside incisions. (Bellwood 2005)

On Taiwan, the Austronesian speaking fishermen-farmers honed their sea-faring skills. They soon embarked on one of the most astonishing and extensive colonisations in human history known as the Austronesian expansion. By about 2 500 BCE, one group, and just one group of Austronesian speakers from Taiwan had ventured to northern Luzon in the Philippines and settled there. The archaeological record from the Cagayan Valley in northern Luzon shows that they brought with them the same set of stone tools and pottery they had in Taiwan. The descendants of this group spread their language and culture through the Indo-Malayan archipelago as far west as Madagascar off the east coast of Africa and as far east as Hawaii and Easter Island in the central Pacific Ocean. Therefore, implying that the ancestors of all of Southeast Asia and the Pacific's people - Malaysians, Indonesians, Javanese, Balinese, Sundanese, Madurese, Sawu, Toraja, Acehnese, Tetun, Maori, Fijian, Hawaiian, Malagasy, Easter Island Rapanui and a host of others, passed through the Philippines in huge waves of migration that spanned thousands of years. (Bellwood 1979)

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


In a shorter explanation-- the first Malays and Indonesians came from the Philippine islands and not the other way around.

Solheims NMTCN Theory

Wilhelm Solheim's concept of the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN), suggest that the patterns of cultural diffusion throughout the AsiaPacific region are not what would be expected if such cultures were to be explained by simple migration. He suggests the existence of a trade and communication network that first spread in the Asia-Pacific region during its Neolithic age (c.8 000 to 500 BCE). According to Solheim's NMTCN theory, this trade network, consisting of both Austronesian and non-Austronesian seafaring peoples, was responsible for the spread of cultural patterns throughout the Asia-Pacific region, not the simple migration proposed by the Out-of-Taiwan hypothesis. (Solheim 2006) The NMTCN, as the term connotes, is a trade and communication network that has been in place in the Asia-Pacific region for the past 10000 years or so. It is this concept that Solheim puts forward as an alternative to simple migration theory in explaining why shared aspects of culture are found widespread in the Asia-Pacific region. He points out that if "elements of culture were spread by migrations, then the spread would have been primarily in one direction"; but since the observed shared elements of culture in the Asia-Pacific region were spread in all directions, the logical explanation is that they have been carried thus through some sort of trading network.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


Solheim came up with four geographical divisions delineating the spread of the NMTCN over time, calling these geographical divisions "lobes." Specifically, these were the central, northern, eastern and western lobes. (Flessen 2006) The central lobe was further divided into two smaller lobes reflecting phases of cultural spread: the Early Central Lobe and the Late Central Lobe. Instead of Austronesian peoples originating from Taiwan, Solheim placed the origins of the early NMTCN peoples in the "Early Central Lobe," which was in eastern coastal Vietnam, at around 9000BCE.

He then suggests the spread of people around 5 000 BCE towards the "Late central lobe", including the Philippines via island Southeast Asia, rather than from the north as the Out-of- Taiwan theory suggests. Thus, from the point of view of the Philippine people, the NMTCN is also referred to as the Island Origin Theory.

This "late central lobe" included southern China and Taiwan, which became "the area where Austronesian became the original language family and Malayo-Polynesian developed." In about 4 000 to 3 000 BCE, these people continued spreading east through Northern Luzon to Micronesia to form the Early Eastern Lobe, carrying the Malayo-Polynesian languages with them. These languages would become part of the

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


culture spread by the NMTCN in its expansions Malaysia and western towards Malaysia before 2000 BCE, continuing along coastal India and Sri Lanka up to the western coast of Africa and Madagascar; and over time, further eastward towards its easternmost borders at Easter Island. Thus, as in the case of Bellwood's theory, the Austronesian languages spread eastward and westward from the area around the Philippines. Aside from the matter of the origination of peoples, the difference between the two theories is that Bellwood's theory suggests a linear expansion, while Solheim's suggests something more akin to concentric circles, all overlapping in the geographical area of the late central lobe which includes the Philippines.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso


Method The following contradicting ideas are present throughout the expounded theories. Having said this, the researchers present existing evidences that could prove or disprove one and the other:

1. Beyer says Dawn Man, Jocano says Tabon Man.

Undoubtedly, Jocanos claim is more credible in naturesince up to this date, what Beyer calls the Dawn Man (250 000 ya) has, as of now, no proof of its existence.

2. According to Beyer, people of the South migrated to the Philippines; for Bellwood, people came from the North. For Bellwood, these Austronesians migrated in a unilineal manner. According to Solheim, its more complicated than that.

Beyers claim has not yet been proven archaeologically. Furthermore, remains of people that in Beyers theory settled in the Philippines can also be found in nearby locationsNew Guinea, Java, and Borneo, creating a notion that a conclusion is inconceivable. (Jocano 1963). In the archaeological and linguistic context however, Bellwoods claim that people came from the North (Taiwan) would be more favourable than Beyers notion. Since the alleged dispersion of the Austronesian languages could be traced in Taiwan through Lingustics.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso

| 10

Hitherto, a research in Genetics conducted by the Human Genome Organisation's (HUGO) Pan-Asian SNP Consortium support the hypothesis that Asia was populated primarily through a single migration event from the south. However, the study found that, individuals who were from the same region, or who shared a common language also had a great deal in common genetically. In the other hand, proponents of the north to south dispersion (in Linguistics and Archaeology) still maintain the former stand. It (the research) also answered the question about the origin of Asia's population. It showed that the continent was likely populated primarily through a single migration event from the southa unilineal migration that partially supports Bellwoods theory.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso

| 11

Conclusion Although this study is entirely paperbound and the sources have been limited to secondary references, the researchers have come to a conclusion that based on the facts laid, and the evidences that support and overturn these theories Jocanos and Bellwoods sentiments would be, as of the present, most credible. Although Solheims idea is somewhat logical, further archaeological evidences should be at least presented for a materialist proof. Beyers idea however could be revised through the inclusion of the discovery of prehistoric human species in the Philippines and genetic records.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso

| 12


There are fundamental differences between the models put forward by the said theories. These differences may be attributed, in whole or in part, to their respective orientations, as well as their individual experiences. For example, Bellwood, on the one hand, is presumably a linguist by background, judging from the amount of linguistic discussions that he incorporates into his publications. This probably explains the linear and somewhat unidirectional tendency of his Out-of-Taiwan model, as these characteristics are also often observed in linguistics especially in the reconstruction of language histories. Solheim, on the other hand, is basically an anthropologist, what with archaeology being considered as an anthropology sub-discipline in the U.S. where he had his training. Thus, he makes use not only of data gathered from excavated material culture, but also incorporates his actual experiences and observations of human behaviour in his explanations of how things are or werehis concept of the Nusantao, for example, is based on his observation of present-day maritime cultures such as the Badjao and the Semang living in the seas surrounding the Indonesian and Philippine islands.

Having said these, the researchers have a formidable affirmation towards the formation of middle-ground and formal theories that could be supported by material evidence and other sciences. Therefore, a new research towards the peopling of the Philippines and population history is highly recommended.

Peopling of the Philippine IslandsChua, Taveso

| 13

Cited References

Flessen, Catherine. 2006 "Bellwood and Solheim: Models of Neolithic movements of people in Southeast Asia and the Pacific". Norway: Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Bellwood, Peter. Mans Conquest of the Pacific: the Prehistory of Southeast Asia and Oceana. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005 First Farmers: The Origins of Agricultural Societies. U.K.: Blackwell Publishing. Beyer, Henry Otley. 1948 Philippine and East Asian Archaeology, and Its Relation to the Origin of The Pacific Islands Population. Jocano, F. Landa. 1963 1998 Our Living Past: the Philippines from 250 000 BC to 1521 AD. Quezon City: Phenix Pub. Filipino Prehistory: Rediscovering Precolonial Heritage. Diliman, QC: Punlad Research House, Inc. 1998. Solheim, William. 2006 Archaeology and Culture in Southeast Asia: Unraveling the Nusantao. Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press. 1979

Origins of the Filipinos and their Languages (January 2006). <independent paper> ________________. 2009 Genetic map of Asias Diversity (11 December 2009). BBC New: Retrieved 01 March 2012