Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology






Pottery -- Philippines -- Batanes



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, iv, 60 leaves, ill.)


This thesis is a report on a pottery analysis which was carried out in the laboratory of the Department of Anthropology at Portland State University. The earthenware materials involved were collected from three surface sites on Batan Island, Philippines, during the summer of 1969.

The interpretation of these potteries was based upon the direct-historical approach to archaeological research. The use of this method was proposed after a cursory examination of the earthenwares revealed certain general similarities between the archaeological potteries and the ethnographically-known wares produced in the area at the present time. One of the sites was a known habitation, and the wares in this collection were analyzed to determine the characteristic ceramic attributes exhibited by the sherds. A comparison of these attributes with those noted in the collections from the other two sites revealed that the surface treatment and vessel form of all the wares were similar enough to indicate only a minimal amount of functional variation between the sites.

Ethnographic data concerning the manufacture and use of contemporary earthenwares in the town of Uyogan, on Batan Island, revealed that these potteries are all strictly utilitarian, and are used primarily in the preparation, handling, or storage of foodstuffs. By inferring similar uses for similar items in the past, the three collections of earthenwares appear to have been directly associated with habitation activities. Ethnographic and archaeological evidence from other areas in the Philippines indicate that the materials from Batan are also comparable to earthenware items produced elsewhere for "kitchen" purposes.

The three surface collections of Filipino earthenwares have been analyzed with reference to function and use. It has been found that these materials are representative of the potteries used ethnographically in habitation activities in the area, and that the differences between the three collections may be attributable to diachronic rather than synchronic variation. It is argued that once the characteristic ceramic attributes for any particular site are determined, their functional interdependence with habitation activities can be demonstrated. It is concluded that the direct-historical and ethnohistorical approaches can be utilized in the determination of site activities based upon the archaeological potteries found in them.


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Portland State University. Department of Anthropology

Persistent Identifier