Skip to comments.Volcanic burial ground allows detailed insight into Maya crops
Posted on 04/05/2013 12:11:35 AM PDT by Renfield
David Lentz from the University of Cincinnati focuses on Cerén, a farming village that was smothered under several metres of volcanic ash in the late sixth century.
Lentz will present his research, The Lost World of the Zapotitan Valley: Cerén and its Paleoecological Context, at the 78th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, held on 3-7 April 2013 in Honolulu. More than 3,000 scientists from around the world attend the event to learn about research covering a broad range of topics and time periods.
Cerén, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Joya de Cerén, was discovered in El Salvador in the late 1970s when a governmental construction project unearthed what turned out to be ancient ceramic pottery and other clay structures. The initial archaeological excavation was directed by Payson Sheets, a faculty member at the University of Colorado and a friend of Lentz.
Cerén is sometimes called the Pompeii of Central America, and much like that doomed ancient Roman city, the wreckage of Cerén was remarkably well preserved by its volcanic burial shroud.
What this meant for me, is this site had all these plant remains lying on the ground, Lentz says. Not only do we find these plant remains well preserved, but we find them where the people left them more than a thousand years ago, and that is really extraordinary.
Lentz specializes in paleoethnobotany and often in his work including at other Maya sites hes left to interpret complex meaning from splinters of charred wood and hard nut fragments. The Mayas tropical environment, which isnt conducive to preserving plant remains, doesnt make things any easier.
But the situation was different at Cerén. The villages sudden and complete ruin sealed it under layers of preservative ash. So Lentzs research there is still challenging but in an unfamiliar way.
It was tricky because we kept encountering things wed never encountered before at a Maya site, Lentz says. They were just invisible because of the lack of preservation.
A few examples of what Lentz and his team have discovered at Cerén:
From these new discoveries come many lessons, a lot of them ecological. Lentz has studied how the Mayas effectively implemented systems of agriculture and arboriculture. He is intrigued by what made these methods successful, considering the Maya population was much denser than what exists on the modern landscape.
His findings at Cerén give him new pieces to plug into the Maya puzzle. Furthermore, they help us understand how humankind affects the natural world.
Cerén is regarded internationally as one of the treasures of the world, Lentz says. Whats been found there gives you a real idea of what things were like in the past and how humans have modified things. I think what were learning there is revolutionising our concept of the ancient past in Mesoamerica.
We've gardened the planet for thousands of year.
And that's a really nice couch.
and yet still no Wheat,flax.figs,grapes... I am shocked.
Wait... There couldn't be commerce between Europe and the Amricas....
They mentioned orchards around the village. I wonder what they grew.
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
-——A raised, paved pathway called a sacbe, which was used by the Maya for ceremonial and commercial purposes. -—
Also found in the southwest especially in Chaco canyon from which an extensive network of these raised and well constructed platforms and roadways exits.
One such platform was built in the cave like ruins of the Gila River National Monument dwelling
Chaco was well worth the visit. A very cool place you have the imagination to be amazed.
Possibly: avocados, ananas, guava, papaya, sapote?
After 1492 yes.