Event: Indigenous Perspectives in Chronology Building: Rejecting the Three-Age System in Philippine Archaeology

Date & Time

February 5, 2021 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
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Contact Information

Michelle Jacobson



Event Type

Cotsen Public Lecture

Event Details

Presented by

Dr. Stephen Acabado
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, UCLA

Current research in Philippine archaeology is pushing back against the colonial foundations of the discipline and the hegemonic status of the Three Age System in the region, including the broader Southeast Asian archaeology. The Three-Age Model, developed for Scandinavia, was imposed on Southeast Asia through its application in Northeast Thailand archaeological record, particularly the reference to the Bronze Age and the farmer-led migration in island Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Recent archaeological data now refute these models. In the Philippines, the long-accepted Neolithic migration by rice farmers, is repudiated the absence of wet-rice in the archaeological record that predates the 16th century. Following the lead of recent scholars, Acabado stresses that Philippine archaeology, in particular, and Southeast Asian archaeology, in general, must reject these essentialist frameworks in favor of forward-facing “emergent” paradigms. Doing so allows Southeast Asian archaeologists to decolonize chronology building and devote less time to worrying about origins to focus instead on understanding process and to incorporating Indigenous perspectives in archaeological interpretation.

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Stephen Acabado is associate professor of anthropology at UCLA. His research revolves around indigenous responses to colonialism, particularly in the Philippines. He is a strong advocate of an engaged archaeology where descendant communities are involved in the research process.

Grace Barretto-Tesoro is professor of archaeology at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Her archaeological work is focused on changing representation of various segments of society from the late precolonial period to the early Spanish period Philippines.