Ceramic Production and Craft Specialization in the Prehispanic Philippines, A.D. 500 to 1600
Niziolek, Lisa C.
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In the millennium prior to Spanish contact, the political economies of lowland societies in the Philippines, such as Tanjay (A.D. 500-1600) on southeastern Negros Island in the central Philippines, underwent significant social, political, and economic changes. Foreign trade with China increased, the circulation of wealth through events such as ritual feasting and bridewealth exchanges expanded, inter-polity competition through slave-raiding and warfare heightened, and agriculture intensified. It also has been hypothesized that the production of craft goods such as pottery and metal implements became increasingly specialized and centralized at polity centers. Tanjay, a historically-known chiefdom, was among them. This dissertation examines changes in the organization of ceramic production using the results of laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry analysis of close to 300 ceramic samples. In addition to geochemical analysis, this research draws on Chinese accounts of trade from the late first millennium and early second millennium A.D.; Spanish colonial accounts of exploration and conquest from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; ethnographic research on traditional Philippine societies and ceramic production; ethnoarchaeological investigations of pottery production, exchange, and use; and archaeological work that has taken place in the Bais-Tanjay region of Negros Island for more than 30 years. Rather than finding clear evidence that ceramics became more compositionally standardized or homogeneous over time, this analysis reveals that a dynamic and complex pattern of local, dispersed pottery production existed alongside increasingly centralized and specialized production of ceramic materials.
SubjectSoutheast Asian archaeology