Stone Sinkers of Batanes Islands

By | June 8, 2021
stone sinkers of batanes islands
Stone Sinkers of Batanes Islands | @natmuseumph (National Museum of the Philippines)

Stone Sinkers of Batanes Islands

The National Museum of the Philippines features the stone sinkers excavated from the Batanes Islands. A stone sinker varies in size and functions as an anchor, plummet, or weight for nets and fishing lines.

A stone sinker varies in size and functions as an anchor, plummet, or weight for nets and fishing lines. Its form can be modified into oval, spherical, triangular, rectangular, or donut-like shapes.

The 2002–2007 Batanes fieldwork was a collaborative research project that involved the National Museum of the Philippines, Australian National University (ANU), and the University of the Philippines’ Archaeological Studies Program, along with representatives from partner academic institutions.

The stone sinkers from Batanes excavated in the 2000s at the Savidug Dune Site in Sabtang Island and Sunget Site in Batan Island, were mostly notched on opposite sides, and dated to the Neolithic Period—1,100 to late first millennium BCE and 1,200 to 800 BCE, respectively.

Beyond the stone sinker’s plain look is an indispensable and relevant archaeological piece in reconstructing people’s lifeways, interactions, and movements in the past, indicative of how the sea and ocean are linked with their lives.

Some of the side-notched pebble sinkers along with other artifacts from the Batanes Islands are on display at the “Palayok: The Ceramic Heritage of the Philippines” exhibit.

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