International Journal of Historical Archaeology

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 433–463

The Application of the Laws of the Indies in the Pacific: the Excavation of Two Old Stone-Based Houses in San Juan, Batangas, Philippines


DOI: 10.1007/s10761-015-0295-4

Cite this article as:
Barretto-Tesoro, G. Int J Histor Archaeol (2015) 19: 433. doi:10.1007/s10761-015-0295-4


During the Spanish Occupation of the Philippines from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the Laws of the Indies and ordinances determined where settlements should be established and how structures should be built. These laws radically changed indigeneous settlement patterns and created a hierarchy of space. In this paper, two stone ruins located in the old town of San Juan, Batangas, are investigated to trace the development of the town using the Laws of the Indies and ordinances as framework. The methods of study include integrating excavation results, interviews with local residents, and archival research. This research shows that the ruins were domestic units dating to the late 1800s. The architectural style of the houses and the artifacts recovered indicate that these structures belonged to local elites. These stone-based houses were the first to be archaeologically investigated in the Philippines. The results of the investigation show that the old town of San Juan was most likely a forced resettlement by the Spanish colonists.


Stone structures Philippines Spanish town Reduccion Laws of the Indies 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Archaeological Studies Program, Albert Hall, Lakandula St.University of the Philippines DilimanQuezon CityPhilippines

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