Charting the Abra gold trade network of Northwestern Luzon using ethnohistorical archaeology and WorldView-3 satellite imagery


The paper will look at the Abra Network from the Early Historical to Historical Period (10th to Early 20th c) which encompasses areas of Ilocos Sur as well as the whole province of Abra. It is argued that this particular network features the migration by coastal peoples to the interior in order to fully control strategic “choke” points in the gold trade with the Lepanto and Angaqui networks as well as to control jump-off points to the leeward side of the Cordillera Mountains – the Cagayan valley. Analysis was done using data from GIS predictive modelling and WorldView3 satellite remote sensing, in conjunction with archaeological data from 2011 and 2012 field seasons as well as published primary and secondary ethnohistorical data. Several Spanish period maps provided important data on early settlements and trails, after georeferencing through GIS software.