The Monreal Stones

monreal stones
The Monreal Stones | @museumxst0ries

The Monreal Stones 

The tablet (big stone) and stone (small stone) were found inside the compound of the Rizal Elementary School in Monreal, Ticao Island, Masbate, and were brought to the National Museum in October 2011. The bigger stone (Monresl Stone 1 ) have both sides engraved with scripts. One side (Side A ) has seven lines with 56 characters, while the other side (Side B )has 10 lines with 84 characters. The small stone 9Monreal Stone 2 has 16 characters.

The Monreal Stones are the first discovered stone artifacts with ancient inscriptions or baybayin. An article made by Dr. Ramon Guillermo (2013) is about the transcription of the inscription that was collectively formed by an interdisciplinary group of ‘UP Ticao, Mabate Anthropological Project Team’. This article is about the systematic study of the inscriptions on the Ticao Stones and suggestions that will lead to its possible translation. Also included in the article are the problems regarding issues on the authenticity of the stones.

Guillermo (2011)supposes that parts of the stone may have been broken and the scripts were probably obliterated. Soriano et al (2011) conducted a 3D imaging through which the older and recent incisions would be differentiated.

Though indefinite yet in terms of the Monreal Stones’ interpretation and translation, the preliminary transcription revealed interesting insights about its scripts: (1) The writings on each side of the stone tablets are not so different from one another; (2) The writings were done not just by one person; (3) The writings were possibly etched in different time periods; and (4) The writings have distinct features, which differ from the baybayin style in Doctrina Christiana, the late 16th-century catechism book written by Fray Juan de Plasencia.

As both pieces are still very recent finds, the inscription date of the Monreal Stone is still inconclusive, pending archaeological studies in the area, in addition to the technology-based analyses of the stones.

The Baybayin Gallery at the National Museum of Anthropology houses these pieces.

Reference: National Museum of Anthropology

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