Saturday, April 18, 2009
Bonbon Shell Midden
Reaching the area can be made in either from the fully cemented circumferential road that traverses from Diosdado Macapagal Bridge or from Libertad, national highway. The shortest way though is to ride the motorized trisikad, parked at the corner of Libertad national highway-Bonbon road just adjacent to the City Sports complex, and turning left from the Bonbon proper, you have to go across a bad road; the distance from the national highway is more or less 3-kilometers.
In archaeology, the term shell midden analysis refers to the study of marine shell valves that were once used as food by prehistoric peoples. Once the meat was extracted, the remaining shells were sometimes used to make ornaments such as beads or carved into fishhooks. However, most of the shell was simply thrown away as waste. It was not uncommon for prehistoric peoples to discard unwanted refuse at centralized trash sites. Over many hundreds of years, shell refuse and soil would build up at these trash sites, resulting in the formation of mounds on what was once level ground.
Discovered in Purok 2A-Tuway, Barangay Bonbon is a mound of shells running up to two meters deep occupying an area of about half a hectare and what is now an additional historical sites, named as “Bonbon Shell Midden”
The materials found in the site underwent radiocarbon dating analysis in Japan. But National Museum archaeologists who made an in-depth study of the site in February 2009 have its prognosis that the materials go back to late Stone Age. That effectively pushes back in time the cultural chronology of Butuan's early settlement, and eventually alters data on Philippine history.
Aside from freshwater and brackish shells, the excavations yielded stone flake tools that bore traces of human interventions, including deposits of human and animal bones. At the moment, two human tibiae (long bones of the arms) and parts of the hand are in Japan for C-14 analysis.