Heritage Conservation Advocates
 
 
 
     
   
Huluga Fossils and Artifacts

Although many archaeological sites in the Philippines are heavily looted and destroyed, some fossils and artifacts have been retrieved for scientific study. This collection in Huluga, Cagayan de Oro indicates that the area was settled around 350 AD, and possibly earlier. The settlers were using stone and later metal tools. They had artistic inclinations, hunted large terrestrial and aquatic mammals, and had direct or indirect trading with the Chinese. Unfortunately, the government of Cagayan de Oro remains apathetic towards Huluga. A former director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources occupies the caves area, and a City Hall tourism employee has dug a huge pit in the midden despite requests by an archaeologist.

Photo of Huluga female cranium. Photo of female cranium, tools and wild boar tusks
Skull of a 30-year old female, tools and ornaments found in a cave in Huluga. A fraction of the skull was sent to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and dated 350 AD. On display in Museo de Oro, Xavier University.
     
Photo of obsidian flakes.   Photo of whale harpoon tip and other artifacts.
Obsidian flakes are volcanic glass used as knives by ancient people. The flakes in Huluga are likely of local origin according to Dr. Craig Skinner. On display in Museum of Three Cultures, Capitol University.   The whale harpoon head is similar to a larger one in Lomblen, Indonesia -- 2,000 kilometers away from Huluga. On display in Museum of Three Cultures, Capitol University.
     
Photo of intricately designed earthenware sherds at Huluga midden   Photo of tektite.
Decorated earthenware sherds from the midden suggests artistic inclination. On display in Museum of Three Cultures, Capitol University.   Tektite
     
Photo of Ming and Ching Dynasty porcelain sherds.   Photo of old Spanish coin.
Ming and Ching Dynasty jar sherds. On display in Museum of Three Cultures, Capitol University.   A single Copper 8 Maravedis coin minted in Segovia, Spain between 1788 and 1808. It bears the likeness of King Carlos IV. The text on the obverse side reads: "Charles IIII D.G. Hisp. Rex. (Charles IIII By The Grace Of God King Of Spain)". On display in Museum of Three Cultures, Capitol University.
     
Photo of stone tools.   Photo of earthenware sherds at Huluga.
Stone tools. On display in Museo de Oro, Xavier University.   Earthenware sherds from Obsidian Hill are relatively plain and worn out. On display in Museum of Three Cultures, Capitol University.

The treasure hunter's pit of Wilson Cabaluna in the midden of Huluga archaeological site

The treasure hunter's pit of Wilson Cabaluna, a city tourism employee, in the the Huluga archaeological site. Note the apparent tunnel leading to the right wall. Photo taken in 2007.

What happens if fossils and artifacts are taken from their original location?

If you find what you suspect is a fossil or an artifact, refrain from touching the item and its surrounding. Even the positioning of these materials will affect scientific analysis and interpretation. They must be seen in relation to the soil, ashes, bones, water, and other materials nearby. Even if the date of a skull is determined in a laboratory, the date could be meaningless if scientists do not know exactly where the object was found. Removal and possession of artifacts and fossils are also illegal and punishable by law.

Some people collect, buy, and sell these objects as "antiques", but these items are transformed to simply old objects if details about them are unknown.

Make a difference in the life of our nation by helping preserve our heritage. Encourage your local officials to protect heritage sites and objects, to put up a museum, or help an existing museum. Contact us for advice.


Published by the Heritage Conservation Advocates, Cagayan de Oro, Philippines, July 21, 2003. Updated June 18, 2008. Photos by Elson T. Elizaga.
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