Before the Volcano Erupted: The Ancient Ceren Village in Central America

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Before the Volcano Erupted: The Ancient Ceren Village in Central America

Payson D. Sheets

1stPublisher: University of Texas PressFormat: Hardcover

On an August evening around AD 600, residents of the Ceren village in the Zapotitan Valley of what is now El Salvador were sitting down to their nightly meal when ground tremors and loud steam emissions warned of an impending volcanic eruption. The villagers fled, leaving their town to be buried under five meters of volcanic ash and forgotten until a bulldozer uncovered evidence of the extraordinarily preserved town in 1976. The most intact Pre-columbian village in Latin America, Ceren has been called the “Pompeii of the New World”. This book and its accompanying CD-ROM and website (ceren.colorado.edu) present complete and detailed reports of the excavations carried out at Ceren since 1978 by a multidisciplinary team of archaeologists, ethnographers, volcanologists, geophysicists, botanists, conservators, and others. The book is divided into sections that discuss the physical environment and resources, household structures and economy, special buildings and their uses, artifact analysis, and topical and theoretical issues.As the authors present and analyse Ceren's houses and associated goods, workshops, civic and religious buildings, kitchen gardens, planted fields, and garbage dumps, a new and much clearer picture of how commoners lived during the Maya Classic Period emerges. These findings constitute landmark contributions to the anthropology and archaeology of Central America. Payson Sheets is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado.

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