Sifting Through the Colonial Debris: Identifying and Managing Early Colonial Pottery Collections of Manila at the National Museum of the Philippines

National Museum of the Philippines, Philippines

Archaeological investigations within the walled city of Intramuros in Manila have recovered significant amounts of archaeological materials dating to the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines (late 16th to 19th century CE). Among the artifacts collected from sites are earthenware ceramics of various forms and styles. While previous studies on colonial pottery in the Philippines have paved the way in understanding these artifacts, there is still the need for more systematic research in the role of pottery in colonial Manila, and its importance as a heritage resource. This paper presents the identification and re-examination of the 16th- to 17th-century CE Intramuros pottery collection held at the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP). Challenges on determining the temporal associations of the pottery as well as their conservation measures are among those topics discussed. This project is part of a comprehensive collection management plan that is being developed in the curation of colonial pottery assemblages at the NMP.