Prof. Stephen Acabado Expands Ifugao Archaeological Project (Philippines) with NSF Grant
Crew of the 2012 field season of the IAP, Kiyyangan, Ifugao. Photo credit: Ifugao Archaeological Project

Prof. Stephen Acabado Expands Ifugao Archaeological Project (Philippines) with NSF Grant

Prof. Stephen Acabado of UCLA's Department of Anthropology, directs the Ifugao Archaeological Project in the Philippines.

A central component of the project is a summer archaeological field school which provides a venue for students to do research on shifting settlement patterns; pottery manufacture, technology, and use; subsistence shifts and changes in health and diet; climate change; and public/community anthropology.  The IAP is a collaborative project with faculty and researchers from the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of the Philippines, the National Museum of the Philippines, and the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement, Inc., in addition to UCLA.

The location of the project is in Kiyyangan town, in the mountains of Ifugao province, in the Cordillera Administrative Region on the island of Luzon, Philippines. The 2015 program dates are June 19 - August 7, 2015.

The Ifugao Rice Terraces are UNESCO World Heritage monuments that attest to the ingenuity and communitarian management of Condilleran people of Luzon in the Philippines. Once thought to be over 2,000 years old, the project's recent work has demonstrated that the upland rice field systems in the region were responses to the social and political pressure from intrusive Spanish colonization into the region starting at c. AD 1600. Shortly after the arrival of the Spanish in the northern Philippines, we see the emergence and rapid expansion of wet-rice cultivation in the highlands.

The shallow time-depth of the origins of the highland agricultural terraces provides interesting questions for anthropologists, particularly on the impacts of colonialism to populations who did not have direct and/or intense interaction with the colonizing power. This work contributes to anthropology and archaeology by investigating the economic and political options available to indigenous peoples impacted by powerful colonial forces. The project emphasizes the observation that indigenous minorities were not passive spectators during the colonization process.

Participation in the Field School is open to the general public. See https://www.ifrglobal.org/programs/asia/philippines-ifugao.

In addition, the UCLA Anthropology Department has received funding from the National Science Foundation to support eight (8) undergraduates to attend the summer 2015 Field School for the Ifugao Archaeological Project. The scholarships are open to any U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident students with junior- or senior- standing. Applicants do not need to be UCLA students, and they particularly welcome applications from historically underserved students. Recipients would be fully funded except if they want to earn academic credit (offered through Connecticut College), in which case it will cost $1,550. But the program provides that much in weekly “stipends,” so even that cost would be covered if the participants opted to use the stipends to pay for tuition. (And those from outside Los Angeles would have to pay their domestic airfare to and from Los Angeles.)

The website for the undergraduate scholarship is http://ifrglobal.org/ifugao-reu. Questions can be addressed to Ifugaoarchaeologyreu [at] anthro.ucla.edu. The scholarship Application Deadline is March 15, 2015.

There will be an Information session with Project Director, Prof. Stephen Acabado, Monday, March 2, 2015, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM, 10383 Bunche Hall (10th floor), on the UCLA Campus.

By Barbara Gaerlan