Complexity in the Islandscape: Social Organization and Development during the Early Second Millenium A.D. in the Visayas, Philippines


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Dissertation Fellowships (North America)




Archaeologists and historians have long considered maritime trade intensification and increased regional interaction as primary catalysts for emergent complexity in Southeast Asia, yet few archaeologists have explicitly studied the unique role of the islandscape in political, economic, and cultural development of the Philippines. This dissertation research investigates the links between material culture, socioeconomic organization and interaction in the islandscape during the early second millennium A.D. and their role in the cultural development of pre-Spanish Visayan societies. Given current debates linking Philippine political economy and social hierarchy, this project argues that non-hierarchical organization and/or heterarchy also governed inter-island interaction in the Visayas and may be observed archaeologically in (1) variation in material culture technology, (2) economic strategies, and (3) settlement distribution. This investigation centers on Cebu, which emerged as a major trading center by the fourteenth century. Data collection consists of systematic surveys of both coastal and upland areas, archaeological excavation, and artifact analysis.