Prehistoric Burial Traditions in the Philippine Archipelago Across Time: Implications for Regional Interactions

Andrea Dominique Cosalan1, Marian C. Reyes2, Sherina E. Aggarao2

1Archaeological Studies Program, University of the Philippines, Philippines

2Archaeology Division, National Museum of the Philippines, Philippines

Burial traditions in the Philippine archipelago seemingly share similar chrono-cultural sequences with the greater Southeast Asian region. This involves an apparent dominance of flexed burials during the Terminal Pleistocene to Mid-Holocene, cremation burials, and an eventual prevalence of supine burials and jar burials by the Late Holocene. The supposed temporal constraints of these practices and their associated material culture elucidate implications regarding early anatomically modern Homo sapiens (AMHs) culture and behaviour, later population dispersals and history, and connectivity and exchange between different populations and island communities. As we develop an updated and comprehensive synthesis of burial sites and mortuary practices within the Philippines, especially with the inclusion of previously unpublished research and newly studied sites, we review the applicability of these “established” patterns and how these may contribute to the abovementioned themes.