Burials in anthropomorphic jars in the philippines

A. V. Tabarev, A. E. Patrusheva, N. Cuevas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The first joint study by Russian and Philippine archaeologists addresses an unusual variant of a burial tradition distributed in Maritime Southeast Asia-burials in anthropomorphic clay jars, found in Ayub Cave (southern Mindanao Island, Philippines), excavated by specialists from the National Museum of the Philippines in 1991-1992, and tentatively dated to 500 BC to 500 AD. Of special interest are lids ofjars shaped as painted human heads with individualized facial features and expressions. The finds suggest that Ayub Cave was a necropolis of the tribal elite, and that vessels were produced by a special group of potters using elaborate "prestige technologies The Ayub ceramic collection has various parallels relating to clay figurines and decoration, including painting, among Late Neolithic and Early Metal Age assemblages from the Philippines (Luzon, Palawan, and Negros Islands), Indonesia (Sumba, Flores, and Bali Islands), and other regions of the Pacific Basin from Japan (Jomon) and Korea (Early Iron Age burials) to the Vanuatu Islands (Lapita culture). These parallels suggest that the source of the anthropomorphic symbolism was the A ustronesian migration, with one of its routes passing from southern China via Taiwan, the northern Philippines, Mariana Islands, and further south to Melanesia and Polynesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalArchaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Anthropomorphic jars
  • Ayub cave
  • Burials
  • Early metal age
  • Philippines
  • Ritual
  • Southeast Asia
  • anthropomorphic jars
  • ritual
  • Ayub Cave
  • Early Metal Age
  • burials

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