List of artifacts in Philippine history

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Template:History of the Philippines Template:Culture of the Philippines The following is a list of Artifacts and Archeological sites from the Philippine history, objects created or modified by human culture, that are significant to the historic ages of the Philippines in terms of Cultural, Religious, Architectural and daily life aspects.

Background Excavated artifacts

  • The Tabon Caves were researched by Dr. Robert B. Fox and a team from the National Museum of the Philippines between 1962 and 1966. The greatest find of was the skull cap of the Tabon Man. It is believed to be approximately 22,000–24,000 years old. The team found over 1,500 burial jars. One jar in particular, the Manunggul Jar, is considered to be a National Cultural Treasure. Other finds included earthenware, jade ornaments and jewelry, many stone tools, animal bones, and human fossils dating back to 47,000 years ago, the earliest human remains found in the Philippines.[1] The archaeological finds indicate habitation from 50,000 to 700 years ago. The limestone formations in the reservation date back 25 million years to the Lower Middle Miocene Period.
  • Sa Huyun Culture was a culture in modern-day central and southern Vietnam and Philippines that flourished between 1000 BC and 200 AD.[2][3] Archaeological sites from the culture have been discovered from the Mekong Delta to Quang Binh province in central Vietnam. The Sa Huynh people were most likely the predecessors of the Cham people, an Austronesian-speaking people and the founders of the kingdom of Champa.[4]Template:Rp
  • Archaeological findings in Batangas show that before the settlement of the Spaniards in the country, the Tagalogs, especially the Batangueños, had attained a semblance of high civilization. This was shown by certain jewelry, made from a chambered nautilus' shell, where tiny holes were created by a drill-like tool. The Ancient Batangueños were influenced by India as shown in the origin of most languages from Sanskrit and certain ancient potteries. A Buddhist image was reproduced in mould on a clay medallion in bas-relief from the municipality of Calatagan. According to experts, the image in the pot strongly resembles the iconographic portrayal of Buddha in Siam, India, and Nepal. The pot shows Buddha Amithaba in the tribhanga[5] pose inside an oval nimbus. Scholars also noted that there is a strong Mahayanic orientation in the image, since the Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara was also depicted.[6]
  • In Laguna , there are may artifacts had been excavated and discovered the significant one of it was the Laguna Copperplate Inscription which is the Oldest written document by far, found in Lumban River by a laborer near the mouth of the Lumbang River in Wawa barangay, Lumban municipality, Laguna province. The inscription was first deciphered by Dutch anthropologist and Hanunó'o script expert Antoon Postma in 1992.[7][8]
  • Artifacts have been recovered from within the vicinities of Ambangan Archeological Site in Libertad that attest to the historical accounts that Butuan traded with India,[9] Japan, Han Chinese, and Southeast Asian countries during these periods.[10]

Recorded contacts from foreign trades and affairs from contemporary kingdoms

Contemporary Kingdoms and Polities Date Kingdoms and Polities in the Philippine history Trade with Notes
India Since Iron age to 16th Century[11] India and the Philippines Archipelago have historic ties going back over 3000 years and there are over 150,000 people of Indian origin in Philippines.[12] Iron Age finds in the Philippines also point to the existence of trade between Tamil Nadu in South India and the Philippines Islands during the ninth and tenth centuries B.C.[13] The influence of Culture of India on Culture of the Philippines intensified from the 2nd through the late 14th centuries CE.[11]
Indian culture had a great influence in the Philippine culture from customs, literature, cuisine, art and dance.(See: Indianized Kingdoms and List of India-related topics in the Philippines).
Greek kingdom of Ptolemy c.100 BC-21 AD [14] Cebu among the Visayan islands The Visayan Islands, particularly Cebu had earlier encounter with the Greek traders in 21 AD.[15]
Medan Polity Template:Circa 900 AD Kingdom of Tondo Mentioned in Laguna Copperplate Inscription [7][8]
Persian 9th to 10th centuries AD Rajahnate of Butuan, Sultanate of Sulu, Sultanate of Maguindanao, Maynila
  • Numerous jars have been found in the Butuan area that indicate the wealth of the kingdom and the existence of foreign traditions.[16]
Chinese Dynasties
Song,Yuan,Ming,Qing Template:Sfn
10th to 19th centuries AD Ma-i, Caboloan, Kingdom of Tondo, Namayan,Rajahnate of Butuan ,Kedatuan of Dapitan, Rajahnate of Cebu and Visayan polities Volume 489Template:Sfn) in the History of Song,
Japanese 12th to 16th centuries AD Kingdom of Tondo, Namayan, Rajahnate of Butuan Japan, had a contact with Southeast Asian countries during these periods.[10][19][9]
Khmer Empire 9th to 10th centuries AD Rajahnate of Butuan[10][20] [10][20]
Siamese Kingdoms and Polities
(Sathing Phra,Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Hariphunchai)
10th to 15th centuries AD Kingdom of Tondo ,Namayan,Maynila, Madyas, Rajahnate of Butuan Rajahnate of Cebu The contact between Kingdoms in Philippine Archipelago and Siamese Kingdoms began its relation way-back in the Template:Circa 13th century in the context of Southeast Asian maritime trade. Archaeological records point not only to commercial and cultural ties but also a recognition of their political stature. Siam with its kingdoms and the Philippines with its rajahs. There were also ceramic wares from Sukhothai and Sawankhalok found in Luzon and Visayas region as evidence of early relations. Southeast Asian wares found in the Philippines from the 13th century to 16th century period were mostly from Siam. In 1586, two decades after Spain set foot in the Philippines, Siam was mentioned as a possible goal of commercial interests and physical expansion and the first contact was made between Spain and Thailand.[21][21][22][16][23]
Champa 11th to 13th centuries AD Rajanate of Butuan,Lupah Sug, Sultanate of Sulu Visayan Polities
  • Champa and Mindanao enaged in commerce with each other which resulted in merchant Chams settling in Sulu where they were known as Orang Dampuan from the 10th–13th centuries. The Orang Dampuan were slaughtered by envious native Sulu Buranuns due to the wealth of the Orang Dampuan.[24]
  • Butuan (P'u-tuan) as a small Hindu country with a Buddhist monarchy in the sea that had a regular connection with the Champa kingdom and intermittent contact with China under the Rajah named Kiling.[23]
Arabia 13th–16th century Kedatuan of Dapitan, Sultanate of Sulu, Sultanate of Maguindanao they introduced Islam in Mindanao[25][26]
Bruneian Sultanate 1500's Sultanate of Sulu, Sultanate of Maguindanao and Maynila
  • According to other Bruneian oral traditions,a city with the Malay name of Selurong,[27] which would later become the city of Maynila)[28] was formed around the year 1500.[29]


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Jade Culture

  • Jade Artifacts- or Jade Culture made from white and green nephrite and dating as far back as 2000–1500 BC, has been discovered at a number of archeological excavations in the Philippines since the 1930s. The artifacts have been both tools like chisels, and ornaments such as lingling-o earrings, bracelets and beads. A "jade culture" is said to have existed as evidenced by tens of thousands of exquisitely crafted jade artifacts found at a site in Batangas province.[36][37]

Sa Huyun Culture

  • In Masbate. The artifacts on the site is one of the "Sa Huyun-Kalanay" pottery complex site were dated 400BC-1500 AD.[38][39] And the Maitum Anthropomorphic Pottery in Sarangani Province c.200 AD.
  • Manunggul Jar is a secondary burial jar excavated from a burial site in the Manunggul cave of the Tabon Caves at Lipuun Point in Palawan. It dates from 890–710 B.C.[40] and the two prominent figures at the top handle of its cover represent the journey of the soul to the afterlife.
  • Maitum Anthropomorphic Pottery – In 1991, the National Museum archaeological team discovered anthropomorphic secondary burial jars in Ayub Cave, Barangay Pinol, Maitum, Sarangani Province, Mindanao, Philippines. The jars are commonly known today as Maitum jars. They are made of earthenware, and are characterized by their design that suggests human figures with complete or partial facial features of the first inhabitants in Mindanao. Furthermore, they give emphasis to the Filipinos’ popular belief of life after death.[41]
  • Banaue Rice Terraces

Archaic epoch

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Hindu-Buddhist artifacts

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  • Copper Buddha's of Ma-i (metal relics) – "The gentleness of Tagalog customs that the first Spaniards found, very lfferent from those of other provinces of the same race and in Luzon itself, can very well be the effect of Buddhism "There are copper Buddha's" images.[42] the people in Ma-i sound like newcomers [to this port] since they don't know where those metal statues in the jungle come from.".[43]

  • kinnari- The golden figure was discovered in Surigao, Surigao del Sur province. The artifact originated from circa 10th–13th century.[44][45] The style are of Vajrayana influence.[46][47]
  • Golden Tara – discovered in 1918 in Esperanza, Agusan by Bilay Campos a Manobo tribeswoman.[48] The Golden Tara was eventually brought to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois in 1922. Henry Otley Beyer , and some experts have agreed on its identity and have dated it to belong within 900–950 CE. They can not place, however, its provenance because it has distinct features.[49]
  • Gold Garuda – * A gold artifact, from the Tabon Caves in the island of Palawan, is an image of Garuda, the bird who is the mount of Vishnu. The discovery of intricate Hindu imagery and gold artifacts.[50][51][52][53]

  • Buddha Amithaba bass relief The Ancient Batangueños were influenced by India as shown in the origin of most languages from Sanskrit and certain ancient potteries. A Buddhist image was reproduced in mould on a clay medallion in bas-relief from the municipality of Calatagan. According to experts, the image in the pot strongly resembles the iconographic portrayal of Buddha in Siam, India, and Nepal. The pot shows Buddha Amithaba in the tribhanga[5] pose inside an oval nimbus. Scholars also noted that there is a strong Mahayanic orientation in the image, since the Boddhisattva Avalokitesvara was also depicted.[6]
  • Padmapani and Nandi Images -Padmapani is also known as Avalokitesvara, the wisdom being or Bodhisattva of Compassion. Golden jewelry found so far include rings, some surmounted by images of Nandi – the sacred bull, linked chains, inscribed gold sheets, gold plaques decorated with repoussé images of Hindu deities.[50][51]


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Documents / Inscriptions

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  • Laguna Copperplate Inscription- The oldest written document in the Philippines found in Lumban River dated in 900 AD which is written in Kawi.
  • Ticao Stone Inscription also known as Monreal stone or Rizal Stone – A limestone contains ancient script Baybayin. find by pupils of Rizal Elementary School on Ticao Island in Monreal town, Masbate province,which had scraped the mud off their shoes and slippers on two irregular shaped limestone tablets before entering their classroom. are now housed at a section of the National Museum, which weighs 30 kilos, is 11 centimeters thick, 54 cm long and 44 cm wide while the other is 6 cm thick, 20 cm long and 18 cm wide.[58][59]


  • Piloncitos – the earliest form of precious metal based currency of the Philippines.[60] It is likely made of pure gold with a weight ranging between .5 grams to more or less than 3 gramss a size of a corn kernel—and weigh from 0.09 to 2.65 grams of fine gold. Large Piloncitos weighing 2.65 grams approximate the weight of one mass. Piloncitos have been excavated from Mandaluyong, Bataan, the banks of the Pasig River, Batangas, Marinduque, Samar, Leyte and some areas in Mindanao.[61]
  • Gold ring currencies- The early Filipinos traded Piloncitos also along with Gold rings, which is gold ring-like ingots. These barter rings are bigger than doughnuts in size and are made of nearly pure gold.[62]


  • Calatagan Ritual pot – a clay pot contain Badlit inscriptions, The pot was probably also used for ceremonies to retrieve victims of bugkut, disappeared persons believed to have been abducted by dwellers of the spirit world. The paper provides a glossary of 26 Bisayan words that could be derived from the Calatagan Pot inscription.[63]
  • Idjang- A triangle-shaped Citadel erected in Batanes Islands in the Philippines, made from limestone and wood.
  • Limestone tombs of Kamhantik is an excavated remains of a thousand-year-old village found in the jungles of Mount Maclayao in Sitio Kamhantik within the Buenavista Protected Landscape of Mulanay, Quezon, Philippines.It is composed of fifteen limestone coffins that can be dated back from the period of 10th to 14th century based on one of National Museum's top archaeologist "a complex archaeological site with both habitation and burial remains from the period of approximately 10th to the 14th century ... the first of its kind in the Philippines having carved limestone tombs."[64]
  • Balangay / ButuanBoat- the first wooden watercraft excavated in Southeast Asia and is evidence of early Filipino craftsmanship and their seamanship skills during pre-colonial times. The Balanghai Festival is also a celebration in Butuan, Agusan del Norte to commemorate the coming of the early migrants that settled the Philippines, on board the Balangay boats.[65] When the first Spaniards arrived in the 16th century, they found the Filipinos living in well-organized independent villages called barangays. The name barangay originated from balangay, the Austronesian word for "sailboat".[66][67]
  • Banton Colth-The Banton cloth is the earliest known warp ikat (tie-resist dyeing) textile in Southeast Asia. Estimated to be 400 years old, the burial cloth was found in a wooden coffin that also contained blue and white ceramics in Banton Island, Romblon. The shroud was woven from red, black and white abaca threads. At present, the people in Bontok, Mt. Province use a colorful burial cloth to wrap the dead.[68]
  • Flying elephant of Lenna Shoal plate [34]
  • Butuan Ivory Seal- an ivory stamp or seal stamp or a privy seal associated with a Rhinoceros Ivory Tusk, dated 9th–12th century, was found in Libertad, Butuan in Agusan del Norte in southern Philippines. Inscribed on the seal is the word Butban in stylized Kawi. The script has a similarity to the Tagalog script. Butban, was presumed to stand for Butwan or Butuan, since the letters “b” and “w” were frequently interchanged. The ivory seal is now housed at the National Museum of the Philippines.[69]
  • Oton death mask – Discovered in 1960's by Alfredo Evanghilista and F. Landa Jocan, it consits of gold nose-disc and eye mask find in an ancient grave in Oton, Iloilo.[34]
  • The Fire Mummies also known as the Kabayan Mummies, Benguet Mummies, or Ibaloi Mummies, are a group of mummies found along the mountain slopes of Kabayan, a town in the northern part of the Philippines. They were made from as early as 2000 BC until the 16th century, when Spain colonized the Philippines. Today, they remain in natural caves and a museum in Kabayan.[70]

Colonial Era

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  • Boxer Codex – a manuscript written c. 1590,[74] which contains illustrations of ethnic groups in the Philippines at the time of their initial contact with the Spaniards. Aside from a description of, and historical allusions to what is now the Philippines and various other Far Eastern countries, the codex also contains seventy-five coloured drawings of the inhabitants of these regions and their distinctive costume.[75]
  • Doctrina Christiana- an early book on the Roman Catholic Catechism, written in 1593 by Fray Juan de Plasencia, and is believed to be one of the earliest printed books in the Philippines.[76] extant copies had been find ancient script translation along with the Spanish Latin content. Baybayin is widely used in the Philippines even before the Spaniards came.
  • Murillo Map also known as Carta hydrographica y chorographica de las Islas Filipinas – Map of the Philippine Islands published by Pedro Murillo Velarde in 1774, the earliest map so far it was drawn and engraved by the skilled Filipino artisans Francisco Suarez and Nicolas de la Cruz Bagay .[77]


  • Magellan Shrine
  • Fort Santiago is a citadel first built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi for the new established city of Manila in the Philippines. The defense fortress is part of the structures of the walled city of Manila referred to as Intramuros.
  • Fort Capul , Northern Samar – Founded in 1596 by the Jesuits, it the only town with a majority of the rare Inakbanon language speakers. The town became the focal transition between the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade from the 16th to 18th centuries. A fort town, much of the architecture of the town is based on protection against Moro raiders coming from as far as Mindanao.[78]

See also



  1. "The Tabon Cave Complex and all of Lipuun". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 16 May 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2009. 
  2. John N. Miksic, Geok Yian Goh, Sue O Connor – Rethinking Cultural Resource Management in Southeast Asia 2011 Page 251 "This site dates from the fifth to first century BCE and it is one of the earliest sites of the Sa Huỳnh culture in Thu Bồn Valley (Reinecke et al. 2002, 153–216); 2) Lai Nghi is a prehistoric cemetery richly equipped with iron tools and weapons, ..."
  3. Vietnam National Museum of Fine Arts (Bảo tàng mỹ thuật Việt Nam) 2000 "Right from the early history – before and after the Christian era – over twenty centuries from now, there was a cultural exchange among three major Centres Z Đông Sơn culture in the North, Sa Huỳnh culture in Central and south-eastern Nam Bộ ..."
  4. Higham, C., 2014, Early Mainland Southeast Asia, Bangkok: River Books Co., Ltd., ISBN 9786167339443
  5. 5.0 5.1 tribhanga
  6. 6.0 6.1
  7. 7.0 7.1 Postma, Antoon (April–June 1992). "The Laguna Copper-Plate Inscription: Text and Commentary". Philippine Studies (Ateneo de Manila University) 40 (2): 182–203. JSTOR 42633308. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tiongson, Jaime F. (August 8, 2010). "Laguna Copperplate Inscription: A New Interpretation Using Early Tagalog Dictionaries". Bayang Pinagpala. Retrieved on 2011-11-18. Template:Webarchive
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 [1]
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 [2]
  11. 11.0 11.1 The cultural influence of India, Template:Webarchive
  12. Indians in Philippines
  13. Tamil language, Template:Webarchive
  14. "Tamil Cultural Association – Tamil Language". Archived from the original on 2008-01-02. 
  15. Cebu, a Port City in Prehistoric and in Present Times. Retrieved September 05, 2008, citing Template:Harvnb
  16. 16.0 16.1 Luna, Lillian (2004). MAPEH for Secondary Students. Art Books and History Books. St Bernadette Publications Inc.. ISBN 971-621-327-1. 
  17. Ebrey, Patricia Buckley (1999). Cambridge Illustrated History of China. Cambridge University Press. pp. 211. ISBN 0-521-66991-X. 
  18. San Agustin, Gaspar de (in Spanish, English). Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas 1565–1615. Translated by Luis Antonio Mañeru (1st bilingual ed [Spanish and English] ed.). Intramuros, Manila, 1998: Pedro Galende, OSA. 
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  26. In Panay, the existence of highly developed and independent principalities of Ogtong (Oton) and Araut (Dumangas) was well known to early Spanish settlers in the Philippines. The Augustinian historian Gaspar de San Agustin, for example, wrote about the existence of an ancient and illustrious nobility in Araut, in his book Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas (1565–1615). He said: "También fundó convento el Padre Fray Martin de Rada en Araut- que ahora se llama el convento de Dumangas- con la advocación de nuestro Padre San Agustín...Está fundado este pueblo casi a los fines del río de Halaur, que naciendo en unos altos montes en el centro de esta isla (Panay)...Es el pueblo muy hermoso, ameno y muy lleno de palmares de cocos. Antiguamente era el emporio y corte de la más lucida nobleza de toda aquella isla." Gaspar de San Agustin, O.S.A., Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas (1565–1615), Manuel Merino, O.S.A., ed., Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas: Madrid 1975, pp. 374–375.
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  29. Potet, Jean-Paul G. (2013). Arabic and Persian Loanwords in Tagalog. p. 444. ISBN 9781291457261.
  30. del Mundo, Clodualdo (September 20, 1999). "Ako'y Si Ragam (I am Ragam)". Diwang Kayumanggi. Archived from the original on October 25, 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  31. Valmero, Anna (August 5, 2010). "Callao man could be 'oldest' human in Asia Pacific, says Filipino archaeologist". Yahoo! Southeast Asia,‘oldest’-human-in-asia-pacific-says-filipino-archaeologist/. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
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  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2
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  37. Bellwood, Peter (2011). Pathos of Origin. pp. 31–41. 
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  39. Miksic, John N. (2003). Earthenware in Southeast Asia: Proceedings of the Singapore Symposium on Premodern Southeast Asian Earthenwares.. Singapore: Singapore University Press, National University of Singapore. 
  40. "Museum of the Filipino People – Archaeological Treasures (Kaban ng Lahi)". National Museum of the Philippines. Retrieved 21 August 2010. 
  41. Dizon, E. (1996). Faces from Maitum: The archaeological excavation of Ayub Cave. Manila: National Museum of the Philippines. pp. xi–xii, 51–53, 56–59, 73, 78–82.
  42. Rizal, Jose (2000). Political and Historical Writings (Vol. 7). Manila: National Historical Institute. 
  43. Prehispanic Source Materials: for the study of Philippine History" (Published by New Day Publishers, Copyright 1984) Written by William Henry Scott, Page 68.
  44. James Wiener (December 2, 2015). "Gold Artifacts from the Ancient Philippines". 
  45. Art Exhibit: Philippines' 'Gold of Ancestors' in Newsweek.
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  48. Agusan Gold Image only in the Philippines.
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  54. Madale, Nagasura (October 6, 2003). "A Look at Philippine Mosques". National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Retrieved September 4, 2014. 
  55. MINDANAW: Oldest mosque needs repair
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  65. BALANGHAI FESTIVAL – Commemorating the coming of the early settlers from Borneo and Celebes
  66. Zaide, Sonia M. (1999). The Philippines: A Unique Nation. All-Nations Publishing. pp. 62, 420. ISBN 971-642-071-4.  citing Plasencia, Fray Juan de (1589). Customs of the Tagalogs. Nagcarlin, Laguna. 
  67. Junker, Laura Lee (2000). Raiding, Trading, and Feasting: The Political Economy of Philippine Chiefdoms. Ateneo de Manila University Press. pp. 74, 130. ISBN 971-550-347-0. 
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  71. Magellan's Cross in downtown Cebu City | Cebu Living
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External linlks

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