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Culture of Prehistoric Times

Anthropologists have divided culture into two categories: material and non-material.
The material category consists of tangible objects while the non-material category consists
things that arent tangible thus are known through observation. Examples of material
culture are food, weapons, habitat, art, etc while examples of non-material culture are
social, religious and language factors of the society.
There are three eras which it can be divided into: Stone Age, Metal Age and
Porcelain Age. In the Stone Age, different types of raw materials were extracted from
nature which were used to craft tools and weapons. Those people used flint and obsidian
(volcanic glass) for their tools and weapons. What is interesting to note is that there are
other materials found in nature which is easier to procure and mold such as bamboo, shells
and wood. The reason for this is that in archaeological collections, the objects present only
have flint and obsidian as their material which led archaeologists to conclude that only flint
and obsidian were used. Although, Tango (1979) states that just because there are no
artefacts, it does not mean that only the said materials were used during that time.
The objects the early Filipinos used in the Metal Age are said to be not originally
theirs. What this means is that the knowledge of crafting objects from metals was passed
on by immigrants. It is said that this knowledge was passed on by the Malays. It was also in
this age that the people engaged in pottery, weaving, glass-making and terrace irrigation for
Like the Metal Age, the knowledge acquired for the object have been passed from
people not native to the Philippines. The proof for this is that many materials made of
porcelain have been unearthed from different parts of the Philippines which belong to the
Sung and Ming dynasties.
The non-material aspect can be analyzed by looking at the sociological, religious
and language aspects (This article only explains the sociological aspect as the other two are
explained in other articles in the newsletter). Because of the diversity present during those
times, it is difficult to find the statement which would be applicable to all the inhabitants.
One inhabitant which will be analysed here are the Negritos. It is said that they run
a simple system from its marriages, politics and social organization. Their system of
marriage is that brides were bought. Since the people back then lived as nomads, the tribe

was small and that the system of control was that of acknowledging one leader rather than
having a complicated system of government.
When the Indonesians and Malays arrived, they brought with them their culture.
Though marriage was still through a purchase system, it was more difficult since it took a
lot of time and effort from both the parties. Also, the widely followed type of marriage is
monogamy rather than polygyny (though polygyny still exists). The two most important
moral virtues are the chastity of the bride and the faithfulness of the wife. Unlike the
Negros, these new settlers live in permanent villages and have an appointed chief. They are
also divided in terms of social classes.
Tangco, M., (1979). Reading in Philippine Prehistory: Racial and cultural history of the
Filipinos. Manila: The Filipiniana Book Guild

Figure 1: Tools made of flint (

Figure 2: Weapons made of flint

Figure 3: Obsidian weapon

Figure 4: Obsidian tool