Document Type

Journal Article


The Leta Leta Cave burial site is a distinctive and enigmatic site of the Philippine Neolithic, excavated by Robert Fox. Containing a number of burials, its unusual earthenware pottery - including the 'yawning-mouth vessel', small footed goblets and a cut-out pedestalled bowl - have seen it recognised in the Philippines as an an official site of national significance. In addition to the humam remains and earthenware, Fox recovered a sizeable assemblage of shell artefacts which, as with other materinerial remains recovered from Leta Leta, were only cursorily reported in print before his death. Recent analysis of the Leta Leta worked shell has revealed the deposition of unfnished as well as finished shell artefats in mortuary context. As well as giving rare insights into manufacturing protocols in an island whenre the Neolithic and Metal Age records arc characterised virtually solely by mortuary deposits, the deposition of unfinished artefacts opens new avenues for the discussion of Neolithic mortuary practices in Palawan. Results of a study of the worked shell assemblage, in addition to recent radiocarbon determinations for the site, are presented here.