CEBU — Several ancient artifacts have been found by a group of archeologists who excavated a part of the Freedom Park in Cebu City, with some of the items dating as far back as the 1500s.
The more than 700 recovered artifacts included porcelain possibly traded from China, butchered animal bones, locally produced pottery, and harvested shells.
According to Archie Tiauzon, who is part of the team, they made an archaelogical impact assessment in the area funded by the group that sought to privatize the old market in the city.
“The antiquity of these objects spanned the period from the late 1500s onwards to 1800. It suggests that the old Freedom Park was used as a coastal settlement,” said Tiauzon.
This, he noted, suggests that Cebuanos were actively involved with Pan-Asiatic maritime trading.
One small excavator machine was used to dig the trenches of the area that was about 235 square meters wide.
To establish the periods in which the different layers were formed, several samples collected will be sent abroad for radiocarbon dating. It was coupled with micro-fossil analyses to determine the vegetation type and former landscape.
“The sediments were scraped cautiously to maintain a controlled excavation and preserve the artifacts and fragile materials until reaching a depth of two meters. To enrich the recovery of the artifacts, the sediments that sealed them were wet sieved,” added Tiauzon.
With the newly found artifacts, archeologists also inferred that Cebuanos had a firm trading partnership with the Chinese and neighboring Southeast Asian nations.
This was also confirmed in chronicler Antonio Pigafetta's observation of the Cebuano settlement along the shoreline when Magellan's fleet arrived in Cebu.
They also found roof tiles along the area.
“The heap of roof tiles found could suggest that in 1600 the Spanish regime may have begun transforming the area into a religious center,” their findings further said.
The artifacts gathered will be preserved and further studied by the team.
Meanwhile, a ground-breaking ceremony took place Thursday for a revitalized look of the Freedom Park, a part of the former Carbon Public Market.
Last August, tension ensued following a demolition job of the former tenants and stalls in the area.
— report from Annie Perez
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