The local tourism office would recall life in the city centuries ago through a series of tableaus at the Huluga archeological complex.
“I am excited to have that site developed as an on-site museum where we can have tableaus that would recreate the village as it was centuries ago,” said Imma Rae D. Gatuslao, city tourism officer. “However, it is the city’s heritage council, which will recommend if it is appropriate to develop the site for tourism purposes.”
The site has been declared by a group of archeologists from the University of the Philippines as camp-like. But local anthropologists Antonio J. Montalvan and Erlinda M. Burton have claimed that the volume of artifacts recovered from the site indicated a permanent settlement.
“We recovered a spindle whorl, harpoon, obsidian materials, among others,” said Ms. Burton. “How can they say this had just been a camp? We are suspecting that the settlement of Datu Salansang, the ruler of Cagayan de Oro, then called Himologan, had been here.”
Recovered artifacts included jars dating back to the Sung Dynasty. The site was also presumed to be a graveyard as it yielded 52 skull caps.
The remains indicated evidence of a prehistoric practice of cranial deformation — the front and back sides of the skull flattened. Further explorations are set this month.
The National Museum is sending archeologists to the area and Xavier University’s Museo de Oro and Capitol University’s Museum of Three Cultures have committed to fund the project.
A. Brown, a property developer which has stumbled on Huluga artifacts in a development area, has also committed to support the explorations.
The Huluga complex has faced controversy years ago when then mayor Vicente Y. Emano ordered part of the caves destroyed to allow road development. The city government had contracted archeologists from the state university to do “salvage archeology.”
The archeologists proceeded, however, without consulting the landowners and local archeologists working on the area, including Ms. Burton. The event prompted a reassessment of the code of ethics for anthropologists and archeologists. The road project was eventually halted and the local government penalized for the damage.
The city’s historical sites development committee has not yet decided on its next plan as they are still prioritizing the development of Macahambus cave, the site of a historical battle where Filipino soldiers aligned with Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo won against invading US soldiers in 1900.