In 2004, while conducting a regular archaeological excavation at Dewil Valley, Dr. Jun Cayron, a member of Palawan Island Paleo-History Project, found a turtle-shaped jar in Sinalakan Karst. Dewil Valley is located in New Ibajay, El Nido, Palawan and home to the most important archaeological site in Northern Palawan at present, Ille Cave. This discovery was very significant since it led us to a new understanding on how early settlers of Dewil view their environment.
Just Recently, the group discovered in the same cave 2 alleged legs of the said jar. Because of this, Dr. Victor Paz, the head of the said project, suggested that it was not a turtle but a bird. Dr. Helen Lewis, the co-leader of the group disagreed with him. She insisted that it was a turtle. Aside from this, Dr. Cayron discovered lots of turtles at nearby caves, a finding that supported the idea of Dr. Lewis. While the the two leaders debate, younger archaeologist jokingly renamed the artifact to “Sinalakan Turtledove.”
Though, this debate is still dividing the view of the archaeologists until now, one thing is already certain: El Nido has now another unique artifact.
April 1, 2014
-Arvi L. Acosta