Early Kapampangan civilization traced in Candaba

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Saturday, July 30, 2011


THE local government of Candaba disclosed that as per record of the National Museum, one of the celebrated archaeological artifacts in the Philippines - a stone adze also known as daras -- was found in this town.
However, some sources claim it came from Tarlac (the provenance papers may have been part of the documents destroyed or looted in World War II).

This, according to Leny Manalo, Mayor Jerry Pelayo's chief of staff, is standing evidence that part of the early civilization in the Province of Pampanga started in Candaba.

The Candaba Adze also provides clues on early civilization in the Kapampangan region. Some historians claim that this could be earliest evidence of prehistoric civilization that gives clue of the settling phase of the people and the beginning of maritime trade via Pampanga located on the western part of the Candaba Swamp.

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The recovery of this artifact is a crucial factor in establishing a chronology of prehistoric events which could possibly include the early seamanship around the Manila Bay area.

Daras are likewise pointers of wet rice cultivation which begins from the forest clearings that gives way to the establishment of houses for farmers and other domesticated crops leading to the establishment of a balen (town). The adze was designed to cut trees and curve boats for the exploration of other pulu.

The early people in the region had learned that a tool with a definite shape and clean edges was far more effective than a flaked stone. They had learned that if they attached it to a pole they could lift it over their shoulder and bring it down with greater momentum of force, exactly the same principle in using a sarulgamat (hoe), palakul and palatio (axes), piku (pick mattock) and masu (hammer).

Aside from Candaba, other stone adzes were found in Arku Cave, in Penablanca, Cagayan; Duyung Cave in Palawan; Dimolit, Isabela.

The Candaba Adze is estimated to be 5,000 years old, which makes it as old as the Pyramids of Egypt. Kapampangans consider the Candaba Adze as their Holy Grail because it points to a Kapampangan civilization, or at least a Kapampangan boat-building industry, long before the Christian colonizers came, in fact 3,000 years before Jesus Christ was born.

The adze was made from basalt with a length of 36.4 cm, width of 9.8 cm and thickness of 4.53 cm.

Henry Otley Beyer, an American anthropologist also known as the Father of Philippine Anthropology, presented this stone to the National Museum during his active involvement in the 1930s.

(Some information from this article were taken from the writings of Joel Pabustan Mallari and Robby Tantingco)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 31, 2011.

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