Stone houses from Spanish times unearthed in the Philippines

Stone houses from Spanish times unearthed in the Philippines

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To conclude its three years of archaeological excavations of stone house ruins from the Spanish period in San Juan, Batangas, the University of the Philippines Diliman Archaeological Studies Program (UP-ASP) carried out a rigorous excavation of the second of the two Spanish stone age houses located at Barangay Pinagbayanan (which means "where the ancient city once stood"), Philippines.

Early Spanish Colonies.

Following the design of the first Spanish settlers, in Pinagbayanan there was a church and a town hall, the ruins of which are still present today, and the former has been recognized as a National Historic Site by the authorities.

However, due to persistent flooding beginning in 1883 as indicated in the original Spanish documents, the city itself was moved to Calit-Calit, the current town, in 1890, leaving only remnants of the original city.

Among the ruins of the remains of the old city are two stone structures that probably have been Spanish. During the past 2 harvest seasons (2009 and 2010), the structure whose bases were built mainly of adobe blocks, was excavated, revealing methods and materials for construction.

This year, the second structure located 40 meters south of the first and owned by Dr. Edgardo Salud de Villa, was excavated. Structure B has positive features, such as walls and pillars that delimit the entire foundation of the structure after decades of neglect.

With a 16-member excavation team made up of graduate students, senior volunteers, led by Dr. Grace Barretto-Tesoro from UP-ASP, the structure of Base B has been discovered through four trenches, until finally it has been exposed in its entirety.

Crucial to this excavation was the identification of the main entrance of Structure B and the discovery of its foundations, to reveal the technology and construction materials. Conglomerate blocks of pavement that resembled a path leading to two possible entrances were unveiled to the northwest of the structures.

On the first, in front of the Barangay road, the hypothesis was raised that it could have been the main entrance of the structure and since the road had a layer of mortar at the beginning it was interpreted that it had been a door. On the other hand, in the northeast area of ​​the structure, similar conglomerate blocks are also supposed to have been another door, which in this case, the remains show that it was sealed

The foundation of the house was reached in various sections of the structure. Composed of adobe and stacked conglomerate blocks measuring 60 cm x 20 cm and joined by lime mortar and cement, the bases of the structure measure an average of 1.5 meters below the surface. Each part of the foundation of the structure contains uneven layers of adobe blocks before reaching the bottom layer, of rubble of the same material.


Interviews with locals report that the house had been abandoned until a family occupied it in 1937. It was abandoned again until World War II. Elderly inhabitants of the city narrate that the structure had already been abandoned before the Japanese occupation of the city, and had been frequented by the soldiers of that country who were stationed in a nearby garrison during the 1940s.

The house had remained intact until the end of the WWII. In the 1940s until the mid 1960s, when, the interior and exterior walls were demolished due to the collection of the adobe blocks that were recycled for the construction of fish ponds.

In the 1960s, neighbors remember that the place had been looted. This has been verified by the numerous holes discovered in the southeastern part of the structure, producing a very high concentration of artifacts such as fragments of metal, ceramic, glass, and modern materials such as plastic.

Source:Philippine Daily Inquirer

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