For 54 years now, DOST’s Forest Products Research and Development Institute (FPRDI) - thru its wood identification service – has been helping both local and foreign archaeologists in establishing the identity of wood specimens recovered from their study sites.

Explains wood anatomist Dr. Ramiro P. Escobin, “Our clients are mostly researchers from the National Museum and the University of the Philippines Archaeological Studies Program who bring to us for identification either charred, desiccated, or waterlogged wooden artifacts.”

He relates, “The oldest wood specimen I have examined was an 800,000-year-old sample from Cagayan Valley submitted by a French researcher, while the most recent were the remains of a Spanish galleon ship.”

“We always couple the results of our identification with the field notes gathered by our clients to get a more accurate picture about how our ancestors lived.”

“For instance, we had identified a fuel wood species (Rhizophora) that, according to our client’s notes, were found inside a cave, and a species (Aquilaria) found near a temple which yields a resin used for making incense, and a construction species (Intsia) which was excavated from a known settlement area.”

“All these suggest that our ancestors knew how to make use of the diverse plant resources in their environment to satisfy their day-to-day needs,” Dr. Escobin concludes.

As the study of the material culture left behind by past societies, especially pre-historic ones, archaeology helps people understand how their ancestors lived and why their cultures changed.(Rizalina K. Araral, S&T Media Service, DOST-FPRDI) #wood #dostPH

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