Philippine prehistory covers the events prior to the written history of what would become the Philippine archipelago

. The current demarcation line between this period and the early history of the Philippines is 900 AD, which is the date of the first surviving written record to come from the Philippines, the Laguna Copperplate Inscription. This period saw the immense change that took hold of the archipelago from Stone Age cultures in 30000 BC to the emergence of developed thalassocratic civilizations in the 4th century AD, continuing on with the gradual widening of trade until 900 AD and the first surviving written records from the archipelago.

1 Stone-Age (c.50,000 - c.500 BC)

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1.1 Callao Man (c. 41000 BC) 1.2 Tabon Man (c. 24000 or 22,000 BC) 1.3 Migration Theories 


1.3.1 Beyer's wave migration theory 1.3.2 Objections to the Land Bridges Theory 1.3.3 Bellwood's Austronesian Diffusion Theory 1.3.4 Solheim's Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) or Island Origin Theory 1.3.5 Jocano's Local Origins Theory

1.4 Genetic studies 


1.4.1 2001 Stanford University study 1.4.2 2008 Leeds University study

1.5 5000-2000 BC²Austronesian speakers arrive

2 Early Metal Age (c.500 BC - c.1 AD)

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2.1 100 BC onward 2.2 Thalassocracies and international trade (200 AD onwards) 

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2.2.1 The emergence of Barangay city-states and trade (200AD-500AD)

2.3 Introduction of Metal 2.4 Introduction of Iron

3 Archeological Sources 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links


(c.50,000 - c.500 BC)

The first evidence of the systematic use of Stone-Age technologies in the Philippines is estimated to have dated back to about 50,000 BC,[1] and this phase in the development of proto-Philippine societies is considered to end with the rise of metal tools in about 500 BC, although stone tools continued to be used past that date.[2] Filipino Anthropologist F. Landa Jocano refers to the earliest noticeable stage in the development of proto-Philippine societies as the Formative Phase.[3] He also identified stone tool and ceramics making as the two core industries that

The Tabon man fossils are considered to have come from a third group of inhabitants. the Negritos.000 and 20.000 BCE.[citation needed]) Tabon Cave is named after the "Tabon Bird" (Tabon Scrubfowl. the Negritos continued to venture on land bridges reachingSoutheast Asia.[6] Physical anthropologists who have examined the Tabon Man skullcap are agreed that it belonged to modern man. You can help by adding to it.000 recovered specimens examined are discarded cores of a material which had to be transported from some distance. This indicates that Tabon Man was PreMongoloid (Mongoloid being the term anthropologists apply to the racial stock which entered Southeast Asia during the Holocene and absorbed earlier peoples to . several Negrito tribes continued on to the Philippines through Borneo.000 BC. and 22.defined the economic activity of the time. 20. 41000 BC) Main article: Callao Man This section is empty.000. because of his acquaintance with Spanish and German scientific archaeologists in the 1880s.[4] [edit]Callao Man (c.[5] These fragments are collectively called "Tabon Man" after the place where they were found on the west coast of Palawan. which deposited thick hard layers of guano during periods when the cave was uninhabited so that succeeding groups of tool-makers settled on a cement-like floor of bird dung. or Aboriginal Filipinos. Fox. 24000 or 22. descended from more northerly abodes in Central Asia passing through the Indian Subcontinent and reaching the Andamanese Islands. That the inhabitants were actually engaged in tool manufacture is indicated that about half of the 3.000. An earlier cave level lies so far below the level containing cooking fire assemblages that it must represent Upper Pleistocene dates like 45 or 50 thousand years ago. Tabon Cave appears to be a kind ofStone Age factory.[1] About 30. who became the ancestors of today's Aetas. the existence and importance of these prehistoric tools was noted by famed José Rizal himself. Megapodius Cumingii).000 BCE. color.[6] (In Mindanao. an American anthropologist of the National Museum. [edit]Tabon Man (c. while in Europe. From thereon. as distinguished from the midPleistocene Homo erectus species. Robert B. who worked the cave between 22. homo sapiens. and which shaped the means by which early Filipinos adapted to their environment during this period. Charcoal left from three assemblages of cooking fires there has been Carbon-14 dated to roughly 7. While some of the Negritos settled in Malaysia. becoming what is now the Orang Asli people. 1962 by Dr. discovered on May 28. and architecture. No evidence has survived which would indicate details of Ancient Filipino life such as their crops. Philippine historian William Henry Scott points out any theory which describes such details is therefore a pure hypothesis and should be honestly presented as such. with both finished stone flake tools and waste core flakes having been found at four separate levels in the main chamber.000 BC) Main article: Tabon Man The earliest human remains known in the Philippines are the fossilized fragments of a skull and jawbone of three individuals.

also was practiced in the Tabon caves. the other a steersman. and that the skullcap measurements are most nearly like the Ainus or Tasmanians. Nothing can be concluded about Tabon man's physical appearance from the recovered skull fragments except that he was not a Negrito. founder of the Anthropology Department of the University of the Philippines. in Laos. as follows:[9] 1. a National Treasure. both seated in a proa. Secondary burial was practiced across all the islands of the Philippines during this period. . hands touching the shoulders. Indonesian. with a jar lid topped with two figures. Since H. arms crossed. Southeast Asia. when and why humans first came to the Philippines. Thus he differentiated these ancestors as arriving in different "waves of migration". as seen on the display globe at the Field Museum of Natural History. numerous scholars have approached the question of how. Indonesia. and most widely known theory of the prehistoric peopling of the Philippines is that of H. Chicago. Illinois [edit]Beyer's wave migration theory The first. Two experts have given the opinion that the mandible is "Australian" in physical type. to Japan. specifically for burial.[7] The custom of Jar Burial. one the deceased. Otley Beyer first proposed his wave migration theory. to the Plain of Jars.000 years ago. which ranges from Sri Lanka.[8] According to Dr.produce the modern Malay. A spectacular example of a secondary burial jar is owned by the National Museum. "Dawn Man". Palawan. with only the mast missing from the piece. As new discoveries come to light. Filipino. Seventy-eight earthenware vessels were recovered from the Manunggul cave. past hypotheses are reevaluated and new theories constructed. some in the burial jars. with the bones reburied. [edit]Migration Theories Main article: Models of migration to the Philippines There have been several models of early human migration to the Philippines. and Brunei as suggested by Beyer) or from the north (via Taiwan as suggested by the Austronesian theory) has been a subject of heated debate for decades. Beyer. Peking Man. and then later in seagoing vessels such as the balangay. Otley Beyer. The question of whether the first humans arrived from the south (Malaysia. and other Asian homo sapiens of 250. and "Pacific" peoples). a cave-man type who was similar to Java man. the ancestors of the Filipinos came to the islands first via land bridgeswhich would occur during times when the sea level was low.

who claims that the first inhabitants of the Philippines came from the Malay Peninsula. Otley Beyer. Mindoro and the Calamianes are separated by a channel more than 500 meters deep[12] [edit]Bellwood's Austronesian Diffusion Theory .[10] [edit]Objections to the Land Bridges Theory In February 1976. He claimed that it arose from the bottom of the sea and.000 to 6. has been generally been disputed by anthropologists and historians. Voss also pointed out that when scientific studies were done on the Earth's crust from 1964 to 1967. He maintained that the Philippines was never part of mainland Asia. that south of a line drawn between Saigon and Brunei does the depth of the South China Sea nowhere exceeds 100 meters.2.000 years ago.[11] Scott also asserts that theSulu Archipelago is not the peak of a submerged mountain range connecting Mindanao and Borneo. The resulting violent earthquakes caused what is now the land masses forming the Philippines to rise to the surface of the sea. but the exposed edge of three small ridges produced by tectonic tilting of the sea bottom in recent geologic times. Fritjof Voss. The country lies along great Earth faults that extend to deep submarine trenches. This is being disputed by anthropologists. continued to rise. 4. the latter could not have been a land bridge to the Asian mainland. as the thin Pacific crust moved below it. as well as Professor H. while still popular among lay Filipinos. The matter of who the first settlers were has not been really resolved. Thus.000 years ago and were the first immigrants to reach the Philippines by sea. it was discovered that the 35-kilometer.thick crust underneath China does not reach the Philippines. Philippine historian William Henry Scott has pointed out that Palawan and the Calamianes Islands are separated from Borneo by water nowhere deeper than 100 meters. It continues to rise today. These methods have since been proven to be too simple and unreliable to explain the prehistoric peopling of the Philippines. but were once a hornlike protuberance on the shoulder of a continent whose southern shoreline used to be the present islands of Java and Borneo. According to Scott. Dr. and that the Strait of Malacca reaches 50 meters only at one point. more civilized Malays who brought the Iron age culture and were the real colonizers and dominant cultural group in the preHispanic Philippines. Beyer's theory. questioned the validity of the theory of land bridges. Reasons for doubting it are founded on Beyer's use of 19th century scientific methods of progressive evolution and migratory diffusion as the basis for his hypothesis. 3.000 and 30. a German scientist who studied the geology of the Philippines. The Malays now constitute the largest portion of the populace and what Filipinos now have is an Austronesian culture. it is clear that Palawan and the Calamianes do not stand on a submerged land bridge. the Negritos. The aboriginal pygmy group. The seafaring. The sea-faring tool-using Indonesian group who arrived about 5. who arrived between 25.

in terms of the geographical span of the homelands of its languages. settling as far as Easter Island by the mid-13th century CE. These people either already had or began to develop a unique language of their own. the peoples of the Philippines are the descendants of those cultures who remained on the Philippine islands when others moved first southwards. By around 3000 BCE. which is based largely on linguistics. reaching as far as Borneo and the Moluccas by 1500 BCE. and by 2500 to 1500 BC. Others migrated east. purple is South Halmahera±West New Guinea languages. (Some areas with oceanic languages are not visible on this map. hewing very close to Robert Blust¶s model of the history of the Austronesian language family. then eastward and westward. [edit]Solheim's Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN) or Island Origin Theory Wilhelm Solheim's concept of the Nusantao Maritime Trading and Communication Network (NMTCN). these groups started differentiating into three or four distinct subcultures. Where Bellwood based his analysis primarily on linguistic analysis. does suggest that the patterns of cultural diffusion throughout the Asia-Pacific region are not what would be expected if such cultures were to be explained by simple migration. giving the Austronesian language group the distinction of being the most widely distributed language groups in the world at that time. Solheim's . and pink is Oceanic. while not strictly a theory regarding the biological ancestors of modern Southeast Asians. one of these groups began migrating southwards towards the Philippines and Indonesia.) The popular contemporary alternative to Beyer's model is Peter Bellwood¶s Outof-Taiwan (OOT) hypothesis.[13] This model suggests that Between 4500 BCE and 4000 BCE. According to this theory.The principal branches of the Malayo-Polynesian Language Family. Orange is Outer Western Malayo-Polynesian. dark red is Inner Western Malayo-Polynesian. reaching as far as Madagascar around the first millennium CE. and supplementing it with archeological data. some of these groups started migrating west. green is Central Malayo-Polynesian. By 1500 BC. forming new cultural groupings and developing unique languages. developments in agricultural technology in the Yunnan Plateau in Chinacreated pressures which drove certain peoples to migrate to Taiwan. now referred to as ProtoAustronesian.

further eastward towards its easternmost borders at Easter Island. which became "the area where Austronesian became the original language family and MalayoPolynesian developed. In reference to Beyer's wave model. he suggests the existence of a trade and communication network that first spread in the Asia-Pacific region during its Neolithic age (c. Aside from the matter of the origination of peoples.approach was based on artifact findings. the only certain thing is that the discovery of Tabon Man proves that the Philippines was inhabited as early as 21. consisting of both Austronesian and non-Austronesian seafaring peoples. calling these geographical divisions "lobes. Landa Jocano of the University of the Philippines. was responsible for the spread of cultural patterns throughout the Asia-Pacific region. According to Solheim's NMTCN theory. northern. this trade network. Jocano postulates that the present Filipinos are products of the long process of evolution and movement of . not the simple migration proposed by the Out-of-Taiwan hypothesis. This "late central lobe" included southern China and Taiwan.000 or 22. eastern and western lobes. these peoples continued spreading east through Northern Luzon to Micronesia to form the Early Eastern Lobe." which was in eastern coastal Vietnam. These languages would become part of the culture spread by the NMTCN in its expansions Malaysia and western towards Malaysia before 2000 BC. including the Philippines. Instead of Austronesian peoples originating from Taiwan.000 years ago. If this is true. The central lobe was further divided into two smaller lobes reflecting phases of cultural spread: the Early Central Lobe and the Late Central Lobe. Solheim placed the origins of the early NMTCN peoples in the "Early Central Lobe. continuing along coastal India and Sri Lanka up to the western coast of Africa and Madagascar. the difference between the two theories is that Bellwood's theory suggests a linear expansion. he points out that there is no definitive way to determine the "race" of the human fossils. via island Southeast Asia. Instead. the Austronesian languages spread eastward and westward from the area around the Philippines. from the Point of view of the Philippine peoples. at around 9000 BC. Thus. the first inhabitants of the Philippines would not have come from the Malay Peninsula. rather than from the north as the Taiwan theory suggests. all overlapping in the geographical area of the late central lobe which includes the Philippines. [edit]Jocano's Local Origins Theory Another alternative model is that asserted by anthropologist F. as in the case of Bellwood's theory. Thus. Solheim 2006 Solheim came up with four geographical divisions delineating the spread of the NMTCN over time. carrying the Malayo-Polynesian languages with them. the NMTCN is also referred to as the Island Origin Theory. who in 2001 contended that the existing fossil evidence of ancient humans demonstrates that they not only migrated to the Philippines. He then suggests the spread of peoples around 5000 BC towards the "Late central lobe". and over time." In about 4000 to 3000 BC. but also to New Guinea. On the basis of a careful analysis of artifacts." Specifically.8. and Australia. Borneo.000 to 500 BC). these were the central. while Solheim's suggests something more akin to concentric circles.

again a sample size far below the minimum sample size needed to account for credible test results in a population of over 90 million individuals.000 years.[18] However. the Southeast Asian genotype. the colonial period saw the influx of genetic influence from Europeans. showed thatmitochondrial DNA lineages have been evolving within Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) since modern humans arrived approximately 50. Genetic data found among a sampling of Filipinos may indicate some relation to the Ami tribe of Taiwan. and Chamic-speaking people. This particular haplogroup is also predominant among Chinese. and Chinese. of course.[17] A variety of research study by the University of the Philippines. is also found among Filipinos. such as Taiwanese aborigines. and Vietnamese. he suggests that the ancient humans who populated Southeast Asia cannot be categorized under any of these three groups. He thus further suggests that it is not correct to consider Filipino culture as being Malayan in orientation. Indonesians.people. Another haplogroup. Haplogroup O1a-M119 (labeled as "Haplogroup H" in this study). and Southeast Asia. A study by Leeds University and published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.[19] However. The rates of Haplogroup O1a are highest among the Taiwanese aborigines. Koreans.[15] [edit]2008 Leeds University study A 2008 genetic study showed no evidence of a large-scale Taiwanese migration into the Philippine Islands. which resulted in migrations from the Philippine Islands into Taiwan within the last 10. with none among the three peoples being the dominant carrier of culture.[14] [edit]Genetic studies [edit]2001 Stanford University study A Stanford University study conducted during 2001 revealed that Haplogroup O3-M122 (labeled as "Haplogroup L" in this study) is the most common Ychromosome DNA haplogroup found among Filipinos.000 years ago. only about 50 urine samples were collected for the study. genetic chromosome were found in Filipinos which are shared by people from different parts of East Asia. In fact. Thais. The predominant genotype detected was SC. it was stated that 3. [edit]5000-2000 BC²Austronesian speakers arrive . He also adds that this is also true of Indonesians and Malaysians. only 28 individuals from the Philippines were genotyped for this study. and American colonization. Population dispersals occurred at the same time as sea levels rose.[16] A 2002 China Medical University study indicated that some Filipinos shared genetic chromosome that is found among Asian people. After the 16th century. During the above mentioned study conducted by Stanford University Asia-Pacific Research Center. far below the minimum sample size needed to account for credible test results. These indigenous elements in the Filipino's genetic makeup serve as clues to the patterns of migration throughout Philippine prehistory.6% of the Philippine population has varying degrees of European ancestry from Spanish.

[21] [edit]Early Metal Age (c. Please help improve this article by checking for inaccuracies. During those millenia. sees the presence of artifacts that are similar in design from site to site throughout the archipelago." which is the name given by ancient Greek writers in reference to an island rich in gold east of India. absorbing or replacing sparse populations already present.c.. talk. linguist Isidore Dyen offered in 1962 two alternative scenarios explaining the origin and spread of Austronesian languages: (a) that they originated in some Pacific island and spread westward to Asia. (help. other Austronesian speakers (e. and all of them having more in common with each other than with languages outside of the Philippines. larger villages came about.[20] Based on subsequent study of the second alternative. which made traveling and trading easier.[22] Where communities once consisted of small bands of kinsmen living in campsites.500 BC . with their descendants expanding throughout the Philippine archipelago and beyond in succeeding millenia. The resulting ease of contact between communities meant that they began to share similar cultural traits. which for the first time in the artifact record. the "Island of Gold. and it is basically the equivalent to the Indian Suvarnadvipa." .g. probably from the north. none of them being introduced by separate migration. the Nesiots mentioned above) entered the Philippines in large enough numbers to leave a linguistic mark but not to replace established languages. which probably have more speakers outside the Philippines than within) were produced within the archipelago. Along with the use of metal tools. Scott suggested that if this scenario is correct all present Philippine languages (except for Sama-Bajaw languages. Pomponius Mela. Jocano refers to the period between 500 BC and 1 AD as the incipient phase. and this new technology coincided with considerable changes in the lifestyle of early Filipinos. and created more opportunities for communities to grow. based on lexicostatistical analysis involving seven million word pairs.usually based near water. Scott concludes that the Philippine language tree could have been introduced by Austronesian speakers as long ago as 5000 BC. both in terms of size and cultural development. Marinos of Tyre and the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea mentioned this island in 100 BC.1 AD) The earliest metal tools in the Philippines were said to have first been used somewhere around 500 BC. this era also saw significant improvement in pottery technology. something which had not previously been possible when the communities consisted only of small kinship groups. the "Golden One.[22] [edit]100 BC onward This article may contain inappropriate or misinterpreted citations that do not verify the text. The new tools brought about a more stable way of life. get involved!) (March 2009) The Philippines is believed by some historians to be the island of Chryse. and their language diversifying into dozens of mutually unintelligible languages which replaced earlier ones. or (b) that they originated in Taiwan and spread southward.Historian William Henry Scott has observed that.

referring to the eastern islands of the Malay archipelago. through the development of inter-island and international trade.[24] During the Qin dynasty and the Tang dynasty. there arose a practice of using gold eye covers. from where the ships of Tyre and Solomon brought back gold and other trade items. Many of the barangay were. Even scattered barangays. which some consider the first European reference to China. to varying extents. The Visayan Islands. and equates the island with biblical Ophir. the location of present-day Philippines and Eastern Indonesia. Medieval Muslims refer to the islands as the Kingdoms of Zabag and Wakwak as rich in gold.[24][25] [edit]Thalassocracies and international trade (200 AD onwards) Further information: Ancient Philippine civilization [edit]The emergence of Barangay city-states and trade (200AD-500AD) A Tagalog couple of the Maharlikanobility caste depicted in the Boxer Codex of the 16th Century. gold facial orifice covers to adorn the dead resulting in an increase of ancient gold finds. Scholars however know that Thin or Gin as in Gintu Suvarnadvipa originates from Chinese word for gold "jin") Chinese have traded with and settled in Philippines thousands of years before West even knew of this area. . North of Chryse in the Periplus was Thin. Hindu-Buddhist culture and religion flourished among the noblemen in this era. In about the 200 BC. particularly Cebu had earlier encounter with the Greek traders in 21 AD. titled Rajah. and then. "Isle of Gold" in the archipelago south of China on his way back from India. the "Golden Peninsula.e.Josephus calls it in Latin Aurea. Further information: Barangay (pre-colonial) Since at least the 3rd century. China was well aware of the golden lands far to the south. the indigenous peoples were in contact with other Southeast Asian and East Asian nations. the Malaya Peninsula. became more culturally homogeneous by the 4th century.[23] Ptolemy locates the islands of Chryse east of the Khruses Kersonenson. Fragmented ethnic groups established numerous city-states formed by the assimilation of several small political units known as barangay each headed by a Datuor headman (still in use among non-Hispanic Filipino ethnic groups) and answerable to a king. The Buddhist pilgrim ITsing mentions Chin-Chou." i.

not tools. they were often used side by side with stone tools. Butuan. hornbill beaks. and Selurong (Manila).Borneo. Melaka empires. Each of these big barangays had a population of more than 2."[29] The earliest use of metal in the Philippines was the use of copper for ornamentation. which when combined with copper produces bronze. Java. was from stone tools to iron tools.Mandani (Mandaue). rhino horn. Robert Fox notes. resin. Beyer thought that it was mined locally. The transition. birds nests. China. In exchange. Trading links with Sumatra.000. Each barangay consisted of about 100 families. This has been attributed to the lack of a local source of tin. in Palawan. which were a symbol of wealth throughout South Asia. Japan and the Ryukyu Kingdom flourished during this era. Lalan (Liloan). Bigan (Vigan).[27] Butuan. rattan. numerous prosperous centers of trade had emerged. beeswax. India.[30] . such as Zubu (Cebu). among them the Malay Sri Vijaya.[26]. and later metal. including the Kingdom ofNamayan which flourished alongside Manila Bay. leading to a new phase in cultural development. Iloilo. [edit]Introduction of Metal The introduction of metal into the Philippines and the resulting changes did not follow the typical pattern. salt and tobacco. the items which were prized by the peoples included jars. [edit]Introduction of Iron When iron was introduced to the Philippines. for example.under the de-jure jurisprudence of one of several neighboring empires. A thalassocracy had thus emerged based on international trade. although de-facto had established their own independent system of rule. Thailand. Even when copper and bronze tools became common. were for re-smelting and remolding. Metal only became the dominant material for tools late in this era. Brunei. but others point to the lack of iron smelting artifacts and conclude that the iron tools were probably imported. but they were not widespread. This lack has led most anthropologists to conclude that bronze items were imported and that those bronze smelting sites which have been found in the Philippines.IrongIrong (Iloilo). In the earliest times. Bronze tools from the Philippines' early metal age have been encountered in various sites. Javanese Majapahit. "There is.2 In the period between the 7th century to the beginning of the 15th century. the peoples would trade feathers. Arabia. the Kingdom of Sanfotsi situated in Pangasinan. as shown by recent excavation. Some barangays were big. a development which occurred in many areas of the world. Whether the iron was imported or mined locally is still debated by scholars. Maktan (Mactan). the Kingdoms of Zabag and Wak-Wak situated in Pampanga[28] and Aparri (which specialized in trade with Japan and the Kingdom of Ryukyu in Okinawa). Cebu. it became the preferred material for tools and largely ended the use of stone tools. no real evidence of a "Bronze Age" or "Copper-Bronze Age" in the archipelago.

notably the hardening of soft iron through carburization. old theories are adapted or new ones developed. A good example is the Spanish walled city of Intramuros in Manila. As new evidence is discovered. (April 2011) Until very recently. the lack of artifacts and other evidence has lead to a lack of consensus among prehistory historians. During the Spanish colonial era. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. whose stone bricks were taken from the original city wall of pre-Hispanic Maynila. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.[31] The Baybayin [edit]Archeological Sources This section needs additional citations for verification. many artifacts were destroyed or re-used. In short.Metalsmiths from this era had already developed a crude version of modern metallurgical processes. which has led to numerous and sometimes conflicting theories about the prehistory of the Philippines. [edit]See also     Cultural achievements of pre-colonial Philippines History of the Philippines (900-1521) History of the Philippines before Colonization History of the Barangay before Hispanization [edit] . which began in 1521. Philippine historians and anthropologists have been limited to the rare artifact discovered since the 19th Century.

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