Ifugao trade goods: What were they for and where did they come from?
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- Pangkaalaman (comprehension)
- To identify different kinds of imported tradeware goods found in Old Kiyyangan Village and learn what these objects mean to everyday early Ifugao life
- To have a general idea of where these trade goods originated from
- To understand early Ifugao trade relationships with lowland groups in the Philippines
- To understand early Ifugao history in connection to the world at the beginning of Spanish colonization in the Philippines
- Pandamdamin (values)
- To appreciate the value of early Ifugao cultural materials
- To reflect on preservation of archaeological or early cultural materials
- To find significance in the interconnections among early Ifugaos, other lowland groups in the Philippines, and the rest of the world
- Pangkasanayan (proficiency)
- To learn key archaeology terms, methods, and concepts
- To develop critical thinking skills and apply observation, reasoning, speaking, and writing skills
- To identify on the map geographical locations of countries or regions that traded with the Philippines
- To use students’ knowledge of science and history to identify how artifacts help archaeologists understand the past
Old Kiyyangan topics discussed in module 3 that relate to “Pakikipagkalakalan sa mga bansa sa Asya”, “Pamumuhay ng mga Sinaunang Pilipino”, “Pamamaraan ng paghahanapbuhay ng mga sinaunang Pilipino”:
- Early Ifugao imported or trade goods (from neighboring countries)
- Relationship between early Ifugaos and other lowland groups in the Philippines
Ifugao culture history background
The archaeological excavations at Old Kiyyangan Village unearthed artifacts or objects that can tell us about early Ifugao life. There were different types of ceramics that early Ifugaos used for cooking, storing food and water, serving, and decoration. There were beads that not only tell us about Ifugao aesthetics, but also about early Ifugao burial practices. Archaeologists can learn a lot about the past by studying these materials. When it comes to cultural materials, they are particularly interested in what these objects were used for and where they came from.
There are three kinds of ancient ceramics in the Old Kiyyangan Village: earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. These ceramics are represented in different types: bowls, cooking pots, and water jars. The most common type of ceramic found in the Old Kiyyangan Village are earthenware ceramics from cooking pots and water jars (Figure 1). Stoneware (Figure 2) and porcelain (Figure 3) are classified as tradeware ceramics, because they were obtained at some point in time through trade or exchange.
Stone and glass beads are other examples of trade items found in excavations at Old Kiyyangan Village (Figure 4). Ifugao historian Lourdes Dulawan notes that beads and other heirlooms are some of the items that make up early Ifugao wealth. Early Ifugaos wore beads as jewelry, but they were also used as burial goods (Figure 5). Most beads at Old Kiyyangan Village were found in burial jars, which indicate the different purposes of tradeware items. They can be used as heirloom pieces, decoration, jewelry, for economic trade, or for burial.
These trade items were not made in Ifugao and come from other parts of the world. They came from ships on the coast, traded or sold in the lowland areas of the Philippines, and then brought to Ifugao and other neighboring highland areas. In the Old Kiyyangan Village, archaeologists found porcelain that were made from Europe or China. Stone and glass beads were traded all over Southeast Asia during that time. Evidence of these trade goods indicates that early Ifugaos interacted with lowland regions and had access to these tradeware items. Historic accounts of the early Ifugao also document this socio-economic relationship between lowland and highland groups. Possession of these imported goods, such as porcelain and beads, was highly prized and signified a social status in early Ifugao society.
Ceramics – Pots and other materials made from clay. They are created by shaping the clay, then hardening it by firing in heat
Earthenware – Ceramic ware made of slightly porous or coarse clay and hardened at low heat
Stoneware – Strong ceramic ware made of nonporous clay and fire-hardened at high heat
Porcelain – Hard, white ceramic ware made of fine-grained clay and hardened at very high temperature
Tradeware – Materials that are bought, sold, or exchanged economically
Trade – The activity or process of buying, selling, or exchanging goods or services
Heirloom – A valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations
Archaeology is the study of the past through material remains left by human activity. These material remains are called artifacts and they are either made or modified by people. Artifacts reveal patterns that can indicate wealth, social status, livelihood, heritage, activity, customs, traditions, and values.
Archaeologists study changes in society through time, from prehistory to history. The analysis of transformations of artifacts through time is one way of explaining social change. The things we use today may be different in the future. These things, then, later on become artifacts for archaeologists to study and analyze. A similar situation is seen in studying the archaeology of the Old Kiyyangan Village. Early Ifugaos owned things that are not as often used or not completely used at all by modern Ifugaos. There are also early Ifugao customs that are not practiced today. By looking at the artifacts, we can see these changes in the everyday lives of past people: changes in the material wealth, changes in livelihood, changes in lifestyle, and changes in the environment.
Archaeologists keep a detailed record of artifacts they excavate in order to explain the chronology or order of events in history of a place. Each artifact fits as a piece of a whole puzzle of history. Removing an artifact from its provenience or origin changes the history of the archaeological site. Provenience in archaeology is very important, because it helps in the preservation of the history of a place. Stealing, illegally selling, or improperly excavating these artifacts are acts of a treasure hunter, not of protectors of the integrity of the history of a culture.
Archaeology – The study of the past through material remains left behind by human activity
Artifacts – Material or object made by humans; artifacts are usually portable
Provenience – The location of a specific object at an exact point on an archaeological site
Treasure hunter – Any person who collects archaeological objects in an unscientific manner for personal gain, and whose actions result in the destruction of surrounding data. Treasure hunting is illegal artifact collecting.