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Weight of Evidence Predictive Modelling and
Potential Locations of Ancient Gold Mining
Settlements in Benguet in the 16th to 18th Centuries

Michael Armand P. Canilao

Department of Anthropology,
University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Archaeological Studies Program,
University of the Philippines Diliman, Diliman, Quezon City

*Corresponding author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Using the Weight of Evidence method in the analysis of geographic patterns, this paper sought to identify areas with high probability for being ancient settlement locations of small- scale subsistence gold miners in Benguet Province of Northwestern Luzon between the 16th to the 18th centuries. The training points used in this project include 24 known ancient village locations that are based on Spanish missionary accounts in the 18th century. The evidential themes that were used include: 1) distance from gold placer mines, 2) Slope class, and 3) Land-use class. Incidentally, the distance to placer mines is the same as distance to fresh water source for habitation purposes. The resulting response theme or unique conditions map shows areas that may potentially contain archaeological sites. The final map shows areas where there is a high probability of encountering an archaeological site.

This work is part of a longitudinal research that tests the theory that the migration into the Benguet mountains of Southwestern Cordillera was mainly due to gold extraction (see Canilao 2009, 2010, 2011a, 2013). Previous researches on the theory were mainly based on a conjunctive approach of ethnohistory and archaeology (i.e., Palka 2009; Wilson and Rogers 1993; Spores 1980). The contribution of the current work is the use of GIS modelling to predict ancient settlement locations that were induced by placer and lode gold mining. It should be stated that the author has shown in various works that the technology of mining in Benguet have largely remained small-scale and environmentally safe before the advent of industrialized mining by the middle of the 20th century (see Canilao 2015, 2011b). . . . .read more


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