Introduction: The excavations of Lal-lo shell middens.


Hidefumi Ogawa



      Shell midden sites containing archaeological materials are located on the river bank of lower Cagayan River, extending from the mouth of the river on the northern coast of Luzon Island for a distance of 40 kilometers upriver. Site locations varies basically in four categories, like river bank, limestone hill, inland and coastal sand dunes. Extended areas of the shell middens are also varying differently, from the small shell midden having 50 meters diameter to the big one extending 500 meters long, 100 meters wide and two meters deep. But shell species formed those middens are limited, except coastal middens, shell middens are predominantly composed by locally called Kabibi, fresh water bivalve shell. Carbon 14 dating of the shell middens is from 3,000BP to 1,000BP (1).

      Standing on those shell middens, many questions come out; why this kind of big size of shell middens were formed? How was the formation process? How was the subsistence of the prehistoric people formed those shell middens? Was the shell gathering activities subsidiary to their farming? Or, shell gathering was specialized as their main subsistence activities? How their subsistence activities like hunting, gathering, fishing, farming were conducted, besides shell gathering? How the microenvironments surrounding the sites like the riverbank, inland plain, limestone hill and coastal shore were utilized for those activities? How were the economic, social and political relationships with other prehistoric groups around the shell gathering people, occupying the particular place for shell as a subsistence resource?

      Having those many questions, we started the research on these shell middens. This is the preliminary report of our research from 1995 to 1997. Research area is covered from the Cagayan River bank to its eastern inland hilly area. For the introduction of the report, in this chapter, we explain the research rationales and the general settings of the research area, natural and geological settings, history of the area, and the settings of each archaeological shell midden sites from the mouth of the river to upstream.


1. Research Rationales


Brief history of the research conducted in Lal-lo Shell Middens.

      Israel Cabanilla and Yoji Aoyagi, the researchers of National Museum of the Philippines, conducted the first research of the shell middens in Lal-lo in 1971 at the Magapit sites. These sites were discovered by chance, during the excavations of the Cabalwanian sites at the west bank of the Cagayan River. The vehicles of the research team were supplied gasoline by the Shell Oil Company at their oil tanks in Aparri, Cagayan. On the way to Aparri, they found the shell deposit and pottery sherds beside the national highway No. 5 at Magapit, because the highway was under construction for the widening of road, and cutting down the limestone cliff beside the highway.

      Excavation of the shell midden in Magapit was conducted in 1971 (Cabanilla 1972), and four excavation areas of 2 x 2m square were set (site number:II-71-LL1 to 4) on the limestone hill of 10 to 20m above mean sea level (M.S.L.). The location of 1971 excavation is corresponding to the location 1 of Magapit Shell middens explored in 1986 by the national museum team including the author (Ogawa and Aguilera 1992). Red-slipped potteries of different shapes with decoration like dot punctuation and incision, stone adzes, bones and bivalve shells were collected by the excavation (Cabanilla 1972). Clay pendant or earring like water buffalo horn revealed during this excavation was designed to the symbol of the Cagayan Provincial Museum.

      Through the 1970fs, Israel Cabanilla, Yoji Aoyagi and Roberto Santiago have continued the exploration in Lal-lo shell middens, and discovered Bangag site, in front of Magapit site, other side of Cagayan River, and Lal-lo Centro site (Aoyagi 1977). During their explorations, these researchers recognized already that those shell middens produced two types of potteries, Red-slipped and Black pottery, and that these potteries were never found together from the same site. They noticed that it could be the difference of pottery tradition in chronology (Aoyagi 1973:89, 1974:47, 1976, 1979, 1981, Aoyagi and Tanaka 1985). Barbara Thiel excavated Magapit site in 1978 after the research of Arku and Musang Cave in Peñablanca, 80 km south of Lal-lo (Thiel 1989). Rich archaeological materials were revealed, red-slipped potteries of different shapes, coarsely made potteries without red-slip, clay ornaments and stone adzes.

      In the early 1980fs, Aoyagi had continued the explorations in Cagayan, not only Lal-lo shell middens, but also culturally and chronologically related sites upriver along the Cagayan River, like Carig site, Tuguegarao and Lanna site in Solana (Aoyagi 1983). At 1986, National Museum team and the author started the explorations on the Lower Cagayan River area, including Lal-lo, from the mouth of the river to municipality of Gattaran, about 40 km upriver. The purpose of these explorations was basically same as the present research in Lal-lo. First aim was for the establishment of local chronology in the area. Data of the characteristics of shell middens such as size, depth, location, artifacts and ecofacts derived from each site by the surface finding, could be useful for the establishment of relative chronology in this area. Second aim of the research was to approach to the one of the biggest problems in Southeast Asian Archaeology, contemporaneous existence of the groups having the different technological background. In the research area, Negrito people, hunter-gatherers in Northern Luzon, are living in the hinterland of Cagayan River alluvial plain, and established the economic and social relationships with lowland farmers. How long had continued hunter-gatherers and farmer relationships from the prehistoric time to the recent? Resolving this problem, at the first stage of this purpose, we conducted the site exploration from the alluvial plain to the hinterland in Lal-lo.

      Twenty-one shell middens containing the archaeological materials are recognized along the Lower Cagayan River and coastal sand dune by the exploration (Aoyagi, Aguilera, Ogawa and Tanaka 1986, Ogawa and Aguilera 1992). Beside this lowland exploration, the hinterland exploration did not carry out until 1996 because of the political situation of the area. Artifacts collected from the surface of these sites indicate the several cultural phases among those shell midden sites. Shell middens, which produce red-slipped pottery, donft produce black pottery at the same time. Magapit shell middens produce red-slipped pottery, but the other riverbank shell middens like Bangag, Santa Maria, Catayauan site, produce black pottery. No shell middens produce both types of pottery together. Stone adzes are almost collected at Magapit and Bangag site, and only one or two fragments of stone adzes from Santa Maria and Catayauan site. Almost the Chinese ceramics collected are blue and white from Santa Maria, Catayauan, Lal-lo Centro, Camalaniugan sites. These shell middens are possibly classified into the different groups of cultural phases or chronological order. Such as, Magapit¨Bangag¨Santa Maria, Catayauan, Lal-lo Centro, Camalaniugan. To resolve this chronological problem and collect the ecological data for the reconstruction of prehistoric subsistence, the excavations of shell middens started from 1987 in Magapit, Catayauan and San Lorenzo (western bank of the river, in front of Catayauan site).

      The excavations of Lal-lo shell middens started from Catayauan site. Catayauan shell midden is thickly formed, site area extends widely, and shell gathering still continuously performs by village people. The excavation was conducted to reconstruct the depositional process of shell midden formation, revealing shell deposit, layer by layer. Shell layers revealed were processed by water separation and floatation to collect the ecofacts like animal bones and plant remains. Different species of shells were counted by each piece and percentage of materials revealed from each layer was calculated. Beside these ecofacts. artifacts were revealed only black pottery in small fragments. Catayauan excavation delineated the characteristics of shell midden formation and its possible depositional process by the disposal of foodstuffs and utensils of prehistoric people (Aoyagi, Aguilera, Ogawa and Tanaka 1988). But new question came out from the results of the excavation; did the prehistoric people utilize that huge amount of shell only for their foodstuffs? Ethnoarchaeological research of the present shell gathering in Catayauan had conducted after the excavation (Ogawa 1997).

      Magapit shell midden excavations are also conducted in 1987. Excavation spots were selected at the highest location in Magapit sites. Hill Top site is located at 50 meters above M.S.L., four meters square was set for excavation. 5.5 meters deep shell deposit was excavated. Cliff site at 25 meters above M.S.L. also excavated 2 x 2 meters square. Big amount of artifacts and ecofacts were collected from both excavation spots, such as different types of red-slipped pottery, jar, bowl with dot punctuation and incision, coarse type of bowl without red-slip, stove, clay, stone and bone ornaments, stone adzes (Aoyagi, Aguilera, Ogawa and Tanaka 1988, 1991, 1993, Tanaka 1993, 1996, Aoyagi, Ogawa, Tanaka 1996).

      Datings of these shell middens are available; Catayauan site about 1,000BP and Magapit Hill Top site about 2,800BP.

      San Lorenzo shell midden is located on the west bank of Cagayan River, about ten meters above M.S.L. The site was recognized during the exploration in 1988. San Lorenzo village people, Ibanag and Ilocano, also perform the shell gathering at the present day. Three shell layers and two silty clay layers were revealed in 4 x 2 meters square. The deepest shell layer reached to 2.5 meters and produced the Chinese blue and white ceramic sherd belonging to 16th Century. Depositional order of shell and silty clay layers, arranged alternatively, indicates that the flood brought silt to the site, but shell gathering was continued even after the inundation. Artifacts revealed from the deepest portion of the shell midden showed that the deposition of shell and silt layers was quickly performed, during about four hundred years (Aoyagi, Aguilera, Ogawa and Tanaka 1991, Tanaka 1993, 1996).

      In the perspectives of cultural relationships with other areas in South China Sea like Taiwan, South China and Vietnam, Stone and Clay pendants from Magapit site shows its similarities in typology and dating. Unexpectedly some inquiries were made about the red-slipped pottery from Magapit site by Oceanic archaeologists in the relationship with Lapita pottery. For the study of cultural relationships with adjacent area, further research and more data are needed, but the significance of our results are recognized even at the first stage of our study.

      Shell Middens in Southeast Asia and South China had been the special issue of study for archaeologists belonged to the Japan Society for Southeast Asian Archaeology since 1992 to 1993, and they recognized its importance. Especially, Lal-lo Shell Middens are noticed as one of the biggest shell middens in Southeast Asia and South China.

      After three years of research on the shell middens in the Lower Cagayan River, analyses of findings had continued until the middle of 1990fs. New project has conducted from 1995 to 1997 in the same research area for the further study and resolution of old and new questions on the prehistory of this area.


2. The problems and purposes of the research

      Our researches in 1980fs are limited to the riverbank shell midden exploration and excavation. Twenty-one shell middens were explored and three of them were excavated. Further research must be conducted, not only the sites located on the riverbank, but also in the hinterland, limestone hilly area. Then, new research term started from 1995 for three years. The problem and purposes of the research is in a same perspective to the previous project.

Problem: When we planed to conduct the Lal-lo Project from 1986, we had the question why the hunter-gatherers still exist until the present day in this area? It must be possible to suppose that the different groups having the different technological background, hunter-gatherers and farmers, exist contemporaneously in one area. In the research area, Negrito, Agta or Ita people are living in the hinterland of Cagayan River alluvial plain, and established the economic and social relationships with lowland farmers. Same situation of hunter-gatherer / farmer exchange of foodstuffs and labor was reported in the Sierra Madre Mountain, in Cagayan and Isaberra Province (Peterson 1978, Peterson and Peterson 1977, Hutterer 1982, Headland 1986). How had the economic and social mechanism of these hunter-gatherers/farmer relationships elaborated and continued from the prehistoric time to the recent? It must be one of the biggest problems in Southeast Asian archaeology.

      This problem has been discussed for long years. Isolate model for this problem was presented by Heine Gelderun (1932). The reason why hunter-gatherers continuously exist until present day was explained by the isolation from the influence of outsiders who have more developed technology. Hutterer appreciates Heine Gelderunfs endeavor to explain the present situation of the contemporaneous existence of hunter-gatherer and farmer. But he denied the isolate model, because intersocial relationships or economic exchange was observed in many cases of the Philippine Negritos (Huterer 1976). Peterson and Peterson brought the inter-social relationships observed between hunter-gatherers and farmers into the prehistoric situation and presented gexchange adaptationh model (1977). Headland and Bailey individually presented the question of scarcity of carbohydrate food in tropical rain forest (Hutterer 1982, 1983, 1986, Headland 1987), and advocate that if hunter-gatherers had no relationships with farmers, they could not find their way to rain forest. They proposed the ginterdependence modelh of tropical rain forest hunter-gatherers with farmers (Headland and Bailey 1991). Archaeologists and ethnologists working in the Philippines have delineated the prehistoric relationships between hunter-gatherers and farmers in the perspective of interdependence or mutualism for last two decades. But this model or hypotheses have never tested by the archaeological materials. Our project in Lal-lo area is conducted to collect data and approach to this problem for the testing of these hypotheses. 


Purposes: Resolving and discussing our problem by the archaeological method, the purposes of the project must be conducted as follows;

      1. To clarify the process of cultural evolution in this research area, from the beginning of agriculture to the present.

      2. and to reconstruct the each archaeological phases in the course of local cultural evolution.     

      3. To specify the factors and conditions to promote the system of hunter-gatherer/farmer relationships.


Archaeological Method: Archaeological method to satisfy these purposes is projected as follows;

      1.   to conduct the archaeological explorations and controlled excavations at a surveyed undisturbed parcel of land located at the Lower Cagayan River and its hinterland to elucidate the dating of sites.

      2. to generate the data which could aid in establishing the subsistence strategy and palaeoenvironmental data of the area, conducting the multi-disciplinary research in cooperating with archaeo-scientists.

      3.   to delineate the settlement system at the area based on the function of each sites.

      4.   to determine the chronological sequence at the area based on relative and absolute dating.

      5.   To perform the ethnoarchaeological study on the inter-social relationships between hunter- gatherers and lowlanders, and also on the shell gathering system.

      6.   To refer the historical documents of missionaries and colonial officers on the mutual activities between hunter-gatherers and lowlanders.

      7.   To build up the most possible models to infer the systems existed in the prehistoric time, using the data collected by the above-mentioned archaeological methods.


      This report will show the part of results of our explorations and excavations in Lal-lo area with the perspectives above mentioned.


3DLower Cagayan River; natural settings, history and shell middens.


Characteristics of Shell Middens

     The three mountain ridges, Sierra Madre, Caraballo, and Cordillera surround Cagayan Valley. Cagayan River flows from Nueva Viscaya and crosses Isabela, Cagayan Province, and empties into the Babuyan Channel. Shell middens are located along the Cagayan River, from the mouth to 40 km upriver. So far more than 20 shell middens and one cave are recognized as archaeological sites.  

      These shell middens are categorized into five groups by its geological location; 1) on the limestone hill beside the river, 50 meters above M.S.L. (Magapit, Bangag II), 2) river bank shell middens, five to eight meters above M.S.L. (Dummon, Gattaran Centro Sur, Aggunetan, Aguiguican, Bangag, San Lorenzo, Alaguia, Catugan, Santa Maria, Catayauan, Tucalana, Lal-lo Centro, Dugo, Camalaniugan Centro), 3) inland shell middens, one to two kilometers east from river bank, seven to eight meters above M.S.L.(Bagumbayan, Dalaya, Catayauan II), 4) limestone hill cave, four kilometers away from river bank, 40 meters above M.S.L. (Mabangog), 5) sea shore sand dune shell middens, 0 to five meters above M.S.L.(Aparri).

       The limestone hill shell midden (Magapit site) and riverbank shell middens (Catayauan site) are mentioned already at the brief history of the research. Inland shell middens are so far recognized three sites. Although the excavation of the sites is not yet performed, pottery sherds and polished stone adzes were not collected during the site reconnaissance survey. There is the possibility that these shell middens had formed before the appearance of pottery in the area.


Scenery of shell middens

      The explanation of natural settings and history of research area start from the mouth of Cagayan River. River delta is developed on the east bank from the mouth of river to 10 km upriver. Limestone formation stops at the boundary of delta. It is supposed that the boundary of delta and limestone had been the seashore before the delta developed (Ooi 1996:personal communication). The width of river is 1.5 km at the mouth and 1.25 km at the boundary.     

      The town of Camalaniugan was built at the boundary of delta and limestone formation. The bell of Camalaniugan Church has the date of 1597(National Historical Institute 1993). Juan de Salcedo and Don. Juan Ronquillofs expedition in the northern Luzon had performed since 1572. After the suppress of two times of rebellions raised in the Lower Cagayan River, Dominicans had engaged in missionary work from 1596. The tower to keep watch the raiders or pirates making attack from the mouth of river has been built situated on the river bank, in Camalaniugan Centro, 200 meters north of the church. The ruin of the Watch Tower remained as a historical marker of Spanish time. Shell deposit extends about 500 meters long, 50 meters wide, in the town of Camalaniugan Centro. Chinese blue and white porcelain sherds were collected from the surface ground. Ibanag people of this town have performed shell gathering.

      Dugo shell midden is situated on the former river bank, one kilometers south of Camalaniugan Centro, along the west side of National Highway No. 5. Present riverbank is formed about 500 meters east of the site. Cortez site, one of the locations to be excavated by National Museum. The excavation indicates that the shell deposit showed more than one meter deep (Orogo 1980).

      Water level of Cagayan River is affected by the raise and fall of sea tide. Water control of the Coast and Geodetic Survey measures the difference of low and high tide water level as 155 cm every six hours 42 minutes (Bureau of Coast and Geodetic Survey 1971, 1982).

      Lal-lo Centro is located seven kilometers south upriver. The river width here becomes narrower, but it measures about 800 meters. Alluvial plain of Lal-lo extends two or three kilometers on the east bank, and the limestone formation continuing from Camalaniugan to southward retreats here and comes out at Magapit on the river bank. On the alluvial plain, paddy field extends now a day. Shell deposit extending area is recognized as 500 meters long, 100 meters wide and two meters deep. Stratigraphy of shell deposit is observed on the wall of well drilled in the town. 

      Town of Lal-lo had been called as Nueva Segovia, and capital of Cagayan province until 1839. Nueva Segovia was originally built by Juan Pablo Carion in 1582 during the first era of Spanish expedition (Morga 1966F52, 302-3, Keesing 1962:168-181). Defeating the Chinese and Japanese pirates at the mouth of river, Carion secured the first Spanish settlement on the lower Cagayan River. Nueva Segovia became an administration, military, economy and religious center of present three provinces, Cagayan, Isaberra and Nueva Viscaya. But in 1755, diocese was transferred to Vigan, Ilocos Sur, and the capital of Cagayan also transferred to Tuguegarao, present capital of Cagayan, in 1839iNational Historical Institute 1993:81, 124). The economic and political importance of Nueva Segovia had lost gradually, now it is called by its Ibanag name, Lal-lo.

      Historic documents indicate that the first settlement of Nueva Segovia built by Carion was located at eight miles from the river mouth. Eight miles is equivalent to 13 km (Morga 1966, Keesing 1962). But at present, it measures 17 km from the river mouth to Lal-lo. If the historic records are correct, why does generated the four kilometers difference for 400 years. After 400 years, if the delta had developed for four kilometers, the rate of delta development must be one kilometer for one hundred years.      

      According to the research of palynology and geology group, before the delta was formed, limestone hill had been washed by sea tide at Camalaniugan. At the same period, Lal-lo area of the lower Cagayan River had been swampy, and the river had flowed slowly (Ooi 1996;personal communication, Aguilera 1996). The beginning of the formation of delta must be caused by the faster flow of the river, and washed away the muddy soil of swamp deposited at Lal-lo area to the sea. The cause of the faster river flows possibly to be derived by the sea level change.  

      Ecological and geological settings of the Cagayan River affect the conditions of shell habitat, also the formation of shell middens along the river. Shell middens of research area are formed predominantly by one species of freshwater bivalve shell, locally called Kabibi (possibly Batissa childreni, Toizumi 1996;personal communication). The habitat of this species of shell is sandy riverbed, not muddy swamp bed. Then, when the ecological settings of the area had been swampy, Kabibi shell could not inhabit there, therefore, shell middens also could not be formed. This assumption must be tested by the further collection of data on geology and palynology.

      Catayauan shell midden is located four kilometers upriver from Lal-lo Centro. Shell midden extends 500 meters long, 100 meters wide and two meters deep. About 500 families now populate Catayauan village, 2,500 population and 100 families are Ibanag shell gatherers. Shells cover ground surface, and houses are built on the white shell ground. Shells have been collected and discarded for long years and huge shell midden are formed. In San Lorenzo and Catugan village in front of Catayauan also have huge shell middens on the riverbank.

      Santa Maria shell midden is situated two kilometers upriver from Catayauan. In Santa Maria, the formation of shell midden is different from the one of Catayauan. Shell middens here have ten meters diameter, two meters deep and extends on the riverbank, every 30 to 50 meters intermittently in an area of one kilometer long. The different type of the formation of shell middens in Santa Maria and Catayauan could be caused by the difference of shell gathererfs social organization, population density or utilization of shells. But the actual condition must be continuously studied. 

      At Magapit, the width of river becomes suddenly narrower, about 400 meters, at three kilometers upriver from Santa Maria. This is because at Magapit, the limestone formation across the river and extends to westward, and the river cut through the limestone formation. Magapit shell middens are situated on the east bank of the river, in the different locations on limestone hill. Five locations of shell middens are recognized in 800 meters of distance along the National Highway. Hill Top site above mentioned produced big amount of artifacts and ecofacts including red-slipped pottery sherds. The datings of Hill Top site shows about two thousand years older than Catayauan shell midden, which produces the black pottery.

      Bangag shell midden is located on the alluvial plain on the west bank of the river, in front of Magapit sites. Site area extends 100 meters diameter and deepest deposit measured 2.8 meters. The location of Bangag site is alluvial plain deposited on the limestone bedrock, one hundred meters away from the river shore. Bangag shell midden formed mound one or two meters higher than the level of surrounding ground surface. Black pottery produced here has decoration of incision, hum-like handle, but black pottery from Catayauan, Santa Maria and San Lorenzo usually has no incision. The limited evidence of black pottery from Catugan site is similar to the decoration of black pottery from Bangag site. Even though among black potteries exist the different characteristics, both of them might belong to the Metal Age pottery, comparing with other Metal Age potteries in the Philippines.

      Other shell middens are recognized on the west bank of Cagayan River; San Lorenzo, Catugan and Alaguia. San Lorenzo ad Catugan are located on the riverbank, and face to Catayauan and Santa Maria on the other side of river. Stratigraphy of shell layers is exposed on the wall of riverbank. Alaguia shell midden is located on the tributary of Cagayan River, and exposes more than two meters of shell deposit on the riverside. Black pottery is collected from those three sites. San Lorenzo and Catugan sites are already excavated and revealed two shell layers on the riverbank wall face to the Cagayan River. After having excavated the second lower level of shell layer, red-slipped pottery sherds were revealed in the silty clay layer from those two sites. Red-slipped pottery sherds revealed under the shell layer are also recognized in Santa Maria and Bangag site. The characteristic difference of red-slipped pottery between Magapit and these sites is on the decoration; the former has dot punctuation and incision, but the latter has no decoration except perforation on ring-foot. But some pottery form is similar; such as Footed bowl type and Jar type pottery. Chronological order of these two types of red-slipped pottery is still unknown at this stage of research. But it is interesting that before shell middens were formed on the both side of riverbank, the people living on the both side of the river had used red-slipped pottery. At this period, the ecological setting of the river was not good for the habitat of shells. There had been the swampy ecological conditions as mentioned above. With the collaboration of geological and Palynological studies, chronology and subsistence study of the red-slipped pottery phases will be examined and studied.        


Climate and ecological settings.


On the climate of the lower Cagayan River, the atmospheric temperature is 29.1 degrees at highest (in May) and 23.2 degrees at lowest (in January), and the annual average temperature is 26.7 degrees. Total amount of annual precipitation is 2,178.4 mm; it reaches at the highest peak in November, and the lowest in April (National astronomical observatory of Japan 1995:136-7,180-1). The width of the river at the each shell middens mentioned above should be summarized here; Aparri, 1.5 km, Camalaniugan, 1.25 km, Lal-lo Centro and Catayauan and Santa Maria, 800 meters, Magapit, 400 meters and Dummon, the shell midden site of south end, 1 km. The sand bars are formed along the lower river, and at the other side of Lal-lo Centro big sand bar island is developed. The river activities to bring sand, stone and silt downriver rapidly form the sand bars along the riverbank. Especially after typhoon, sand bars are developed and emerge different shape. During more than one decade of our research, sand bars have changed its shape little by little. Even though thus strong river activity to bring and deposit soil, the depth of the river keeps five to seven meters at the deepest point.

      It is supposed that the natural conditions of shell gathering ground change annually or daily. Topography of riverbed directly affect to the habitat of shells and fishes. Every year, from August until November, typhoon changes the topography of the riverbed, and new fishing ground is formed. The sea tide changes twice a day, seawater comes into the river up to Magapit. The water level difference of low and high tide is 155 cm at Camalaniugan. The daily tidal change affects the salinity and temperature of river water, and these changing conditions affect also the shell and fish habitat. Shell gatherers in the research area read everyday the changes of those natural conditions and select the gathering point. 

      Shell gatherers say that the tide comes into Magapit, 26 kilometers upriver from the mouth. It must be caused by the gentle inclination of the river at this area, ten meters of level difference for 40 kilometers distance. Our measurement of salinity of the river at Catayauan village shows less than one percent, even though shell gatherers say the salinity of river water affect to the habitat of shells. So far, we donft have precise data of salinity of the river, but it could be possible to estimate the habitat area of each shell species by the information of shell gatherers. It indicates that the habitat of three major species of shells Kabibi, Asisi and Ginookan (Ibanag term), is different as showed in Figure 4 (see Fig. 4, P. 249). The habitat of Ginookan is smallest, and Asisi can live widely in freshwater, Kabibi can be gathered from Camalaniugan to Gattaran. Comparing the population in 1846 and 1948, total population of Cagayan became seven times (Keesing 1962:216-7). Although eighty percent of population in 1948 was Ilocano, Ibanag population didnft augment so much. Ibanag population growth rate during 100 years is very low comparing with the high growth rate in all region of lowland Philippines. This event was derived from the Ilocano migration to Cagayan and they pushed Ibanag people to the southern region of Cagayan (Keesing 1962:218-9).

      Shell gathering village population also has been augmented gradually by Ilocano migration. At present, the population of Ilocano is bigger than Ibanag. But Ibanag people perform the shell gathering. Ilocano usually doesnft perform the shell gathering except some Ilocanos in San Lorenzo village.       Although Ilocano migration pushed Ibanag people to southern Cagayan, now population is mixed in the villages of the lower river, even Ilocanos are majority. There must be existed the regulation mechanism to avoid the conflict in this situation of mixed population. 


Shells for gathering and midden formation.

      Shell middens in shell gathering village is situated on the Cagayan River bank, and formed predominantly by one freshwater bivalve shell. Other shell species from middens are two freshwater bivalve, three freshwater conical shell and land snails. Characteristics of three freshwater bivalves are as follows; 

Kabibi (possibly, Batisa childreni): size of Kabibi gathered varies from six centimeters wide, five centimeters long and three centimeters high to 2.5 centimeters width, two centimeters long and one centimeter high. Wet weight of big one with shell measures 55 grams. Shell middens explored in the lower Cagayan River formed predominantly by Kabibi. Kabibifs habitat extends from Camalaniugan to Gattaran (40 kilometers form the mouth of river), and Kabibi is annually gathered, even there is the fluctuation of monthly catch amount. Annual catch amount also shows the fluctuation, such as in 1986 to 87 the amount became few, but in early 90fs it became a lot. The factors affect the rise and fall of biomass and the catch amount of shells are still unknown. Kabibi gathering is a main subsistence ways of shell gatherers in the area, and they sell most of their catch to brokers living in the village. Shell brokers are usually women. They bring those shells bought everyday to the towns in the lower river and sell in the markets. Shell gatherers today usually donft eat shells; therefore they donft discard shells to form shell middens.

Asisi: Average size of Asisi measures 1.5 centimeters wide, 1.5 centimeters long and one centimeter high. This shell species distributes in freshwater all over the Philippines. In Tagalog, it is called tulya. Asisi can be collected big amount in one time gathering, but in rainy season, the catch amount falls down. Shell gatherers tell that they began to gather Asisi recently, before few decades. And the reason why they began to gather Asisi is the shortage of Kabibi catch amount. Asisi became the substitute of Kabibi. Excavation data of shell deposit shows that Asisi is revealed mainly from the surface ground, but the deeper in layers, the fewer the frequency (see Table 8, P. 263). Asisi is also gathered for cash. The amount to be consumed by shell gatherers is also few, but shell of Asisi is discarded in the village. It is not because that the Asisi consumption by shell gatherers, but because that shells are removed for selling at higher price. Watching the surface ground of shell gathering village, new shells of Asisi can be observed.

Ginookan: Average size of Ginookan measures 2.5 centimeters wide, 1.5 centimeters long and 0.8 centimeters high. Its shell is thin. According to the shell gatherers, its habitat ranges from Lal-lo Centro to Santa Maria (see Fig. 4, P. 249). The habitat area Ginookan can be gathered is smaller than the one of Kabibi. Therefore its catch amount is also limited. Quantitative data of Ginookan gathering and transaction are not yet fully collected. But it is said that Ginookan has short life, not so strong like Kabibi, and cannot last for two days after having been gathered. So, Ginookan is not appropriate to sell in Markets far from this area. And sometimes it is served for self-consumption in a household. It is sometimes processed to remove its shell by boiling, and sold its meat. The meat processed to halamangh, a local seasoning. Shells removed and consumed are discarded in the village.

      Other three species of freshwater conical shellsiAgurong, Liddak, Biruko) and land snails are found from shell middens. But its amount is limited.


4.   Contents of the Report.

      Each chapter of the report is written about the excavation of the site, or scientific analyses of data collected for the different disciplines by the researchers in charged to participate to the Lal-lo Project. Contents of each chapter and its author are shown as follows;


      Introduction: research rationales and brief history of the project: Ogawa, Hidefumi

      1.   Preliminary Report on the Palynological Study at Lal-lo Basin, Northern Luzon, Philippines: Ooi, Nobuo

2. Preliminary Report: Results of Geomorphological Field Study conducted in the Lower Reaches of Cagayan River:

Aguilera, Melchor L., Jr.

3.        Geological and Geomorphological Study conducted in the Lower Reaches of the Cagayan River: Aguilera, Melchor L., Jr.

      4. Archaeological Excavation of the Shell Midden Sites in Lal-lo, Cagayan: Ame Garong and   Toizumi, Takeji

5.        Identification of the Seasonal Grouth Pattern and Death Season of Batissa childreni: Toizumi, Takeji

6.        Preliminary Report of the Lal-lo, Cagayan Archaeological Project: Clemente Irigayen Property Site, Santa Maria, Lal-lo, Cagayan: Amalia De La Torre

      7. Excavation of Dombrique Site in Catugan, Lal-lo, and Cagayan: Tanaka, Kazuhiko

      8. Excavation of Bangag Site in Bangag, Lal-lo, Cagayan: Tanaka, Kazuhiko@

      9. Excavation of San Lorenzo III (Siriban) Site in San Lorenzo, Lal-lo, Cagayan: Tanaka, Kazuhiko@

      10. Excavation of the Mabangog Cave in Sitio Mabangog, San Mariano, Lal-lo, Cagayan: Ogawa, Hidefumi

      11. Ethnoarchaeology of the Shell Middens and Shell Gatherers in the Lower Cagayan River, Northern Luzon, Philippines-

             Ogawa, Hidefumi

12. Discussion of the topics on the Chronology and Subsistence: Ogawa, Hidefumi


      This report is mainly on our research activities performed during the field season. The analyses of data collected are just started. Thus the report is not fully presented all results of research. At the next report, we will show the results of the data analyses.



1: Two C14 dating are available in Magapit Hill Top Site:2,800}140BPiN-5396Chalf life:5,730”Nj, 2,760}125BPiN-5397, half life:5,730”Nj, one in Catayauan:1,060}290BP(N-5398, half life:5,730”N).



Aoyagi, Yoji

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