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Monday, June 8, 2009

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Many archaeological sites in the Philippines are actually burial grounds that go back several centuries, with the dead buried either as mummies, in burial jars inside caves, or inside coffins in church yards. The pre-colonial sites are often the most exciting because the dead were often buried with all kinds of goods, giving us glimpses not just of our ancestors' views about death but also their social life.
One burial site in Oton, Iloilo, believed to date between the 14th and 15th centuries, yielded a gold death mask, consisting of an eye mask, nose and mouth shield. This burial artifact tells us that the elite had it good, and were quite willing to splurge on luxuries. Our ancestors certainly found it important to take some of their wealth into the grave in a last show of status and prestige.
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