Mylene Lising Lecture

29 October 2019

Mylene Lising

The Challenges of Archaeological Research and Cultural Heritage Management in a Developing Country

A public lecture by Mylene Lising, Cultural Deputy Officer, National Museum of the Philippines; Lecturer, Sociology and Anthropology, Ateneo de Manila University and 2019 Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow.

The Philippines is a developing country with a population of over 100 million people. Its majority lives below the poverty line. As such, it has a socio-economic climate that puts archaeology and prehistory low on the list of priorities, which have at the top food, shelter, and clothing. Cagayan Valley in the archipelago’s northeast is a known location of several archaeological sites, among which are the oldest in the country dating to the Middle Pleistocene. In the Philippines, the oldest human fossils to date have been found in Callao Cave, Peñablanca, Cagayan Province, dating to ca. 67,000 years ago (Detroit et al. 2019). Although no human fossils have yet been published from the Kalinga site, Rizal, on the western border of Cagayan Valley, lithic materials and faunal fossils with cutmarks have been dated from this site to 709,000 years ago (Ingicco et al. 2018). However, previous research has shown that no comprehensive cultural resource management plan exists for the Cagayan Valley sites.

Mylene’s ongoing project is to develop a system for cultural heritage management applications for these two archaeological sites in the Cagayan Valley, Philippines, that will create value and relevance for the prehistoric heritage to the general public, and, which will serve as a foundation upon which implementation of other CHM plans and projects in the Philippines will be based.

In this lecture, Mylene will discuss some of the methods she and her colleagues are employing to achieve this goal, including studying how other countries of comparable socio-economic contexts with the Philippines have addressed their sites of similar characteristics.

Détroit, F., Mijares, A. S., Corny, J., Daver, G., Zanolli, C., Dizon, E., . . . Piper, P. J. (2019). A new species of Homo from the Late Pleistocene of the Philippines. Nature, 568 (7751), 181-186.

Ingicco, T., van den Bergh, G. D., Jago-on, C., Bahain, J. J., Chacón, M. G., Amano, N., . . . de Vos, J. (2018). Earliest known hominin activity in the Philippines by 709 thousand years ago. Nature, 557 (7704), 233-237.

Caroline Marie Quinto (Mylene) Lising is a dedicated heritage expert with a focus on Southeast Asia, human origins and Palaeolithic archaeology. She has recently received a grant from the Gerda Henkel Foundation (Germany) to build the Rizal Town Library, Kalinga, Philippines. Mylene holds an Erasmus Mundus International Master in Quaternary and Prehistory in 2015 from the Muséum National d’histoire Naturelle, Paris, France. Mylene is currently a PhD student at Goethe University in Frankfurt and a guest researcher at the ROCEEH (The Role of Culture in the Expansion of Early Humans) program at the Senckenberg Research Institution. She is involved in the development of the Anthropological and Sociological Institute of the Ateneo de Manila University (ASIA), which will be an institute that will both conduct archaeological research and offer a respective teaching program. Mylene is currently developing the heritage management strategy for a recent archaeological site in Northern Luzon that contains the oldest evidence for the presence of humans in the Philippines. She has also initiated the creation of the “Traveling Museum PH” to enhance the understanding of human evolution in the Philippines and conducts a travelling exhibition as well as public lectures at universities, schools and other organisations.