Tropical Foraging Strategies During the Last Glacial Maximum: Evidence From Pilanduk Cave, Philippines

Janine Ochoa1, Jane Carlos1, Ame Garong2

1University of the Philippines Diliman, Philippines

2National Museum of the Philippines, Philippines

Pilanduk Cave on Palawan Island produced a rare well-preserved Philippine faunal assemblage dated to the Last Glacial Maximum at ca. 20,000 – 25,000 cal BP. This record shows inland foraging strategies primarily focused on deer hunting and the procurement of freshwater molluscs. The LGM occupation of the cave occurred during a period when Greater Palawan was at its maximum extent and the site was much further inland. The vertebrate assemblage of this site is dominated by deer remains, particularly those of an extirpated Rusa species. Specific taphonomic workflow followed methods for analysing density-mediated attrition, anatomical representation, fragmentation, and anthropic modifications were applied to the large mammal assemblage of Pilanduk Cave. The overall taphonomic evidence suggests that whole deer carcasses were brought in, consumed and discarded on-site by the human occupants of the cave. The mollusc assemblage is dominated by freshwater taxa, and this reflects the inland riverine environment of the site during the LGM. This corroborates results previously reported by Jonathan Kress for Pilanduk Cave. However, a few marine and estuarine molluscs were also found in the LGM midden, indicating the procurement and transport of these shells into the Palawan interior.