Ancient jars found in Bay, Laguna

“This could actually alter our history.”

This was emphasized by Dr. Victor Paz of the University of the Philippines (UP) Archaeological Studies Program after fragments of ancient shards of jars and other artifacts were retrieved in Puypuy Village, Bay, Laguna on June 25.

The ancient jars and stone artifacts were accidentally found at the backyard of the couple Valeriano and Olivia Emata, both 59. Valeriano had the gut-feel to dig the ground where a tree with a carved ‘X’ mark stands beside their small nipa.

The excavation site of the ancient jar fragments at the Emata’s backyard measures eight to ten feet deep.

According to Valeriano, they digged in the spot but there was nothing in it. Until his psychic friend came over and interpreted that the ‘X’ marking represents the number ten. Olivia narrated that they walked ten steps from the tree following the direction of a loose nail stuck on that ground.

Digging the spot ten steps away from the ‘X’ marked tree, Valeriano found a clay jar with three stones arranged orderly inside. His wife, Olivia, a UPLB researcher, immediately turned the artifacts over to their family friend, Dr. Helen Dayo, an anthropologist from the UP Gender Center in UPLB. Dr. Dayo then called Dr. Bonifacio Comandante, an anthropologist from UP Diliman.

According to Dr. Paz, the clay jar used to be an ancient coffin. He said that stones were used to properly situate the dead body inside the jar, which explains the ordered arrangement of the stones.

These are fragments of an ancient jar that was used as coffin by our ancestors.

Valeriano also showed other stone artifacts found in their area such as obsidian rocks. These smooth and shiny rocks have a pitch black color which implies that they have been underneath the earth and have been exposed to intense heat and pressure for a very long time. Dr. Paz explained that our ancestors used obsidian rocks as sharp tools to hunt for food.

The UP Archaeological Studies Program team believes that the artifacts date far back as 2800 years ago or 800 B.C. – one of the oldest recovered artifacts in the Philippine history. But due to the team’s lack of funding, carbon date testing has not been pursued yet to determine the exact age of the artifacts.

“This discovery could be one of the many puzzle pieces that would complete the full picture of our ancient history,” Dr. Paz said. “This could help us support or debunk existing records in our history,” he added.

Currently, about 1,000 pieces of ancient jar shards have been recovered within the eight-feet deep excavation site at the Emata’s backyard. Further study and research are still on-going.

The Emata’s and the UP Archaeology team are expecting to discover more artifacts in the succeeding weeks. (Jasmin Joyce P. Sevilla)

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