Raw Material Procurement and Knapping Strategies for the Stone Tools from the 709 ka Butchery Site of Kalinga (Philippines), with an Insight on the Cagayan Valley Lithic

Thomas Ingicco1, Hubert Forestier1, Gema Chacon2, Alfred Pawlik3, Jackie Despriée1, Marian C. Reyes4, Maricar Belarmino4, John de Vos5, Xavier Gallet1

1Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle Département Homme et Environnement UMR 7194, Musée de l'Homme, France

2Institut Català de Paleoecologia Humana i Evolució Social (IPHES), Spain

3Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines

4National Museum of the Philippines, Philippines

5Naturalis Biodiversity Center, The Netherlands

Our knowledge of the Lower Palaeolithic of Island Southeast Asia is limited to less than a handful of archaeological sites with clear stratigraphic context, Mata Menge (1Ma) in Flores, Ngebung 2 (800ka) in Java, Kalinga (709ka) in Luzon and Talepu (180ka) in Sulawesi. Most of the lithic industry terms still in use nowadays, such as Pacitanian for Java, Cabengian for Sulawesi, or Cabalwanian for Luzon, are linked to old discoveries of rather few artefacts that are out of any context and whose significance in terms of lithic traditions, has been questioned if not disregarded. In the Philippines, three cultural traditions have been described for the Palaeolithic from a handful of lithic artefacts from surface collections, two of them in Cagayan Valley (Luzon Island). The aim of this paper is firstly, to reevaluate the diversity of the surface collections made in the Cagayan Valley since the 1970s in light of the only well-dated artefact Lower Palaeolithic assemblage excavated at the Kalinga site, which will also be described in detail here, and secondly, to better circumscribe the Cagayan Valley lithic assemblages within the Asian Palaeolithic. Special attention will be given to the small amorphous flake tools as the dominant type recovered at the Kalinga site. The potential raw material acquisition areas, fossil fluvial formations rich in cobbles, were surveyed and petrological analysis on retrieved samples conducted. Furthermore, the manufacturing techniques identified on the Kalinga material were replicated experimentally to characterise the constraints faced by the Kalinga toolmakers and the decisions they made thereafter, to better understand and describe the final products recovered around the rhinoceros carcass at Kalinga. Finally, we discuss the diversity of knapping products and chaîne opératoire for the lithic surface assemblage and the excavated assemblage in Cagayan Valley and compare them with other continental and insular collections from Southeast Asia.