‘Fish-only diet’ for early Boljoonons-A A +A
Sunday, September 1, 2013
THE early people of Boljoon, a southern town in Cebu, normally ate fish, squid, shellfish and millet or kabog, said an archaeologist from the National Museum.
Ame Garong conducted a study on the prehistoric diet of early Filipinos in six burial sites: Batanes, Lal-lo in Cagayan Valley; Kabayan in Benguet Province; Romblon; Sta. Ana in Manila; and Boljoon.
To be expected
“Only the Cebu site has shown pure dependence on marine ecosystem compared to five other sites,” she said in her book “Ancient Filipino Diet: Reconstructing Diet from Human Remains Excavated in the Philippines.”
The book is a publication of the University of San Carlos Press, which “attempts to estimate dietary resources from six burial sites in the Philippines.”
“It is but expected that they will rely more on marine resources since it is the most available and reliable resources of protein in their immediate surroundings,” she said.
After the book was launched at the University of San Carlos Museum yesterday, Garong told Sun.Star Cebu that she studied Asian-Filipino diet from burial reserves by measuring collagen in the hair and oxygen content in the teeth.
“Water (intake) can be read in the teeth through the oxygen content,” she said. The growth rate of hair is connected with the intake of protein.
She said the result of her study confirms earlier findings of archeologists in Boljoon who did not find animal bones in the area.
There were only human remains and there was no information available on the diet of early inhabitants of Boljoon, Garong said.
“There is no evidence of hunting (practices) and gathering of food except millet,” she said.
Millet is a kind of grain that was commonly grown in Cebu. It was the staple diet of Cebuanos before the Spaniards arrived.
In contrast, pig bones were excavated in the northern town of San Remegio, Cebu, which led Garong to believe that early residents had a meat diet.
“Walay spaghetti. Walay longanisa (that was excavated). (But this study) gives us a whole view of how they (the ancestors) explore their environment for subsistence,” she said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 01, 2013.