A Bioarchaeological Investigation of an Explosive Impacted Skeleton from Ifugao, Philippines Cordillera


The Ifugao Archaeology Project (IAP) investigates the sparse prehistoric and colonial archaeological record of the Philippine Cordillera. The biological anthropology of the area is almost completely unknown. A single adult human skeleton has been recovered from primary archaeological context in the Ifugao area. The paucity of skeletal remains is largely due to cultural practices that include the processing and collection of juvenile and adult skeletons for ritual storage. One adult human skeleton was found by farmers after the explosive removal of a boulder. Despite the fragmentation and missing elements caused by the explosion, as the only skeleton recovered from primary context in the area, this individual provides information on health and diet in Ifugao. The skeleton represents a male in relatively good health. There are low levels of osetoarthritis in the joints and vertebra, and a possible infection in the tibia. The skeleton has robust muscle attachments, especially in the legs. Dental and oral health information suggest that the diet was low in cariogenic foods, but periodontal disease may have been present. Isotope analysis gives information on the diet and geographic history of the individual and, together with dating information, can help to contextualize the individual in time and space.

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A Bioarchaeological Investigation of an Explosive Impacted Skeleton from Ifugao, Philippines Cordillera. Amber Joliz Steinbruchel, Aaron Chang, John Kribaum, Adam Lauer. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397969)

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Geographic Keywords
East/Southeast Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 66.885; min lat: -8.928 ; max long: 147.568; max lat: 54.059 ;