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BCPCH, partners conduct first archaeological survey in Lanao del Sur

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)--In a pioneering effort to uncover historical narratives and imprints in the province of Lanao del Sur. the Bangsamoro for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (BCPCH)-Provincial Office led an inaugural archaeological survey in the area on August 21-26, 2023.

BCPCH-LDS collaborated with the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur through its Provincial Tourism Office and the University of the Philippines School of Archaeology to embark on a 6-day surface exploration of eight municipalities in the province, with representatives from Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, the Mindanao State University – Marawi Campus, the BCPCH-Regional Office, and the BCPCH Maguindanao Provincial Office, composing a survey team.

“This cooperative effort between various institutions exemplified the importance of safeguarding cultural heritage while also harnessing its tourism potential,” the BCPCH-LDS Office of the Commissioner said in an online post.

Accordingly, a report will be compiled detailing the findings of the survey and recommendations that will help shape heritage conservation and tourism strategies in the province.

“The first-ever archaeological survey of Lanao del Sur underscores the power of partnership, the value of cultural preservation, and the quest for knowledge. As the region embraces heritage tourism, this journey bridges past and present, ensuring that the stories of those who came before continue to inspire and enrich the lives of generations to come, both from within and beyond the province's borders,” the post further stated.

Meanwhile, Ruh Javier Alonto, consultant of BCPCH for Bangsamoro History, shared that the archaeological initiative was prompted by the discovery of a Chinese jar during a historical site validation in one of the municipalities of Lanao del Sur in 2022, calling forth the dispatch of a team to carry out a surface archaeological survey by the BCPCH-LDS to uncover antique remnants and discover the rich cultural heritage of the province.

"It started last year during a historical site validation by a team of BCPCH-Lanao del Sur that in one of the municipalities, they discovered a vase. It's a jar, a Chinese jar," Alonto recounted in an interview.

He said it is necessary to conduct a survey in Lanao del Sur considering its rapid development. "We have a lot of infrastructure development and growth of municipalities. So, we need to have initial data on what are our potential archaeological sites," he said.

He shared that over 200 artifacts, particularly trade ware and earthenware, were uncovered during the survey, bringing light to the idea of the existence of a trade between the Chinese and the early Maranaos during the pre-Islamic period.

"For us, we are trying to assert our separate timeline for the country. And again, with these archaeological findings, especially if we can excavate by next year, definitely this will support our assertion that before colonialism, prior to Islam, we already have settlements that occupied around the lake," he explained, underscoring the significance of the exploration, especially in unearthing historical narratives of the province. (BIO/PIA-10 Lanao del Sur)

The Bangsamoro for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage - Provincial Provincial Office and partners conduct the first inaugural archaeological survey in Lanao del Sur to unearth the province's historical narratives. (BCPCH)

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Apipa Bagumbaran

Assistant Regional Head

Region 10

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