A prehistoric graveyard intact with human skeletal remains and associated funerary materials has been unearthed in Cagayan de Oro. The site is part of the Huluga Archaeological Complex in Sitio Taguanao, barangay Indahag about eight kilometers south of the city center.

Archaeologist Angel Bautista of the Cultural Properties Division of the National Museum visited the site last September 21 and counted about fifty-two individuals, all of varying ages of both genders, as having been buried in the site. Some of the remains were buried with Chinese celadon wares, chert flake tools, and body ornaments. The site also yielded the data that cranial deformation was very much in practice among prehistoric Cagay-anons where the fronto-vertico-occipital part of the skull is flattened since childhood as a practice of social prestige, similar to skulls found in Butuan. Many of the Huluga skulls had such deformation. City

The Chinese trade ware porcelain pieces, all identified by Bautista as belonging to the Sung Dynasty (960 to 1279 AD), are now part of the collection of the Museum of Three Cultures of Capitol University. That gives the age of the site as contemporaneous to some of the vast archaeological finds unearthed in Butuan a few years ago. City

Such gravesite is the first ever to be found in the Cagayan de Oro area. The find effectively changes the cultural chronology and history of northern Mindanao, and decisively establishes that indeed a prehistoric settlement had existed in the Huluga area centuries before the founding of the town of Cagayan in 1626, Bautista averred. Bautista had designated the site as Huluga 3.

The exploration was spearheaded by the Museum of Three Cultures of Capitol University, Museo de Oro of Xavier, and A. Brown and Company whose Phase 5 development of the Xavier Estates also yielded some surface archaeological finds consisting of pottery sherds and Stone Age obsidian glass flakes. Also represented was the Heritage Conservation Advocates of Cagayan de Oro. University

Bautista recommended a full-blown archaeological excavation to be done later this year as a quadripartite effort between CU, XU, A. Brown, and the National. Museum

Above left photo, National Museum archaeologist Angel Bautista examines skeletal remains from the Huluga gravesite together with Dr. Antonio Montalvan of CU, Engr. Darwin Enopia of A. Brown and Company and Dr. Linda Burton of XU. Right photo shows some of the Sung Dynasty celadon and Sawangkhalok wares used by the prehistoric people of Cagayan de Oro now seen at the Museum of Three Cultures of Capitol University. (Photo by Elson Elizaga)

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