As Above So Below: Preliminary Investigations for Submerged Landscape Site Discovery in the Greater Central Visayas, Philippines

Author: Jennifer Rickard

Rickard, Jennifer, 2017 As Above So Below: Preliminary Investigations for Submerged Landscape Site Discovery in the Greater Central Visayas, Philippines, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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Submerged landscape studies in the Philippine island arc system are at the preliminary stages of development despite having nearly 200,000 km2 of land area exposed during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (Robles 2012:40). Glacially induced sea-level fluctuation through the Pleistocene and Early Holocene greatly influenced the exodus of hominin species throughout Southeast Asia and Australia. Drier climatic variability during periods of marine regression affected prehistoric human subsistence adaptations in response to retreating palaeoshorelines and evidence for past human activity likely reside in submerged offshore regions due to sea-level rise. Initial hominin colonization for the Philippine Archipelago extends to the Upper Pleistocene epoch since the discovery of an unknown species of Homo on the island of Luzon (Mijares, et al. 2010). Due to Luzon's remote location in context to Southeast Asia, it is likely it would have been the last in the series of islands in the Philippines to be inhabited. Further archaeological investigations are needed to temper chronological issues plaguing the dispersal narrative in the archipelago. With much of the arc system's palaeolandscape lost to inundation, coarse resolution geospatial modelling provides the beginning stages for submerged landscape site discovery. A synthesis of available datasets has been implemented to predict likely areas for drowned regions of archaeological significance. Specific attention has been focused on the Central Visayas in this thesis to provide initial investigation of its surrounding seascapes based on relatively shallow bathymetric contours over large shelf regions.

Keywords: Submerged Landscapes, Marine Archaeology, Philippine Archipelago, Central Visayas, Pleistocene, Holocene, Geospatial Modelling, Palaeolandscapes, Southeast Asia

Subject: Archaeology thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2017
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Jonathan Benjamin