Thursday, October 6, 2011

University Of Colorodo Boulder Team To Find The Ancient Maya Village Buried By Volcanic Ash 1400 Years Ago The Road

At the University of Colorado at Boulder-led team excavated a Mayan village in El Salvador buried by a volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago has unexpectedly hit an old white road seems to lead to and from the city, which was frozen in time by a blanket of ash. The road, known as a "Sacbe," is about 6 feet in diameter and is made of white volcanic ash from an earlier outbreak, which was packed and braced along the edges of the residents who live in approximately 600 AD, said CU-Boulder Professor Payson Sheets, who discovered the village known as Ceren buried near the town of San Salvador in 1978. In the Maya of Yucatan, literally, the word "Sacbe" (SOCK'-bay) means "White Way" or "white path" and is used to describe old high roads are generally lined with stones and paved with white lime plaster sometimes associated with temples and places and cities.

The Sacbe buried in the village of Ceren - there were channels of water flowing on each side - is the first ever discovered in a Mayan archaeological site that was built without borders paved, said sheets. The road was discovered by chance by the team, while digging a test well 17 meters of volcanic ash in July to analyze agricultural activity on the edge of Ceren was the best preserved Mayan village in Central America.

"Until our discovery, these roads are known to the Yucatan region of Mexico and all were built with stone trim, which are generally well maintained," said sheets of the Department of Anthropology at CU. "It took the unusual stored at Ceren to tell us that the Maya also stoned. I mean, we saw an anomaly in the data from ground-penetrating radar, which guided us in Sacbe Ceren, but it was not. It was a total surprise. "

Sacbe almost shot dead by digging and 3 meters 3 meters of the well test, said Sheets, where the entire width of the road in sight. In order to monitor the Sacbe two wells were dug to the north, and tests confirmed Sacbe was the minimum length is at least 148 meters long - about half the length of a football field.

The sacbe seems to be aimed at two ceremonies Ceren structures within 100 feet - the buildings that were discovered in the leaves of Ceren and his team in 1991. A structure is considered to have been used by a woman shaman. The structure of the evidence of the surrounding community content ceremony - including the bones of deer killed, hit a deer painted in red and blue, and a large pot in the form of a crocodile - large amounts of food and drinks are prepared and distributed to inhabitants of the town square during the ceremony is believed the culture leaves at harvest.

"We know that there was a party going on when the epidemic struck," said Sheets. "And we found no evidence of anyone coming to his house, collecting valuables and flee, because all the doors of the house were to catch up. We believe that people may have left and go south of the square, perhaps Sacbe , because the danger was to the north. "

Radiocarbon dates indicate Ceren eruption occurred around the year 630, and the researchers have shown even months CU and time of day from the burning mass of ash and debris from the Loma Caldera volcano rained on the city for less a third of a mile away. Sheets believes that the eruption affected about 19 hours on an August afternoon, due to the maturity of the corn stalks of the ashes kept in plaster, the fact that agricultural tools were brought in, and sleeping mats not were deployed, meals are served but do not wash dishes, and the corn was put into pots to soak in water overnight.

Sheets said it was logical that the villagers would be able to use the square white Sacbe as emergency escape route for the destruction of the volcano in the dark of night. "How could receive, I do not know," said Sheets. "It would have been runners. I think it's very likely we will find that agencies adhere to future excavations Sacbe south." So far no human remains were found in the village.

Sacbeob, plural Sacbe, had a strong connotation practical, political and spiritual in the pre-Columbian Yucatan, said sheets. Some were relatively long - up to 40 miles - while others tended to within 50 feet. Due to the high level of conservation at Ceren, scientists can see the marks hands of farmers who were repairing the edges of Sacbe.

Although it is speculation Ceren Sacbe could lead to the center of San Andres Maya about three miles to the south, there is no evidence yet, said plates.

While some call Ceren as "The New World of Pompeii," Sheets are quick to point out the differences. Pompeii was a wealthy Roman Resort community with houses several floors of concrete, stone streets and marble statues, while Ceren was a small farm. Because of tiny particles of hot water, wet, covered with ashes and Ceren packed thatch structures, gardens and fields, conservation of organic matter is higher in Pompeii, where it's dry pea particles in rain eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79th

Leaves visited Pompeii, Pompeii and researchers visited Ceren, the analysis of the similarities and differences in the sites. "When I say they would have that kind of level of conservation of Pompeii, I told them I would not mind finding a statue of marble or two at Ceren," said Sheets.

Ceren store is so great that scientists have found signs of finger strokes ceramic bowls, human footprints in the garden shed to house the ashes of crops such as maize and cassava, with thatched roofs, woven baskets and vases full of beans. Scientists have discovered the remains of mice lived in the kitchen areas, with a thatched roof, and entomologists have also been able to detect that the two species of ants living in the village, said that the plates.

So far, 12 buildings, Ceren - claims to have had a population of about 200 people - have been excavated, such as houses, warehouses, laboratories, kitchens, religious buildings and common room. There are dozens of unexcavated, and can also be another solution or two yet to be discovered under the ash, covering an area of ​​about two square miles.

Although most of the Mayan archaeological evidence points to a rigid, top-down society where the elite did most of the political and economic decisions, there is evidence of some autonomous Ceren is also a variety of choices for growing techniques for farmers, who were found this summer, said Sheets. He believes that the building has two large benches in the room can be accommodated by the village elders when it came time to make decisions Ceren.

In addition to the leaves, the team of CU-Boulder in 2011 included graduate students Christine Dixon, Teresa and Alexandria Halmbacher Heindel, University of Cincinnati Professor David Lentz, University of Cincinnati graduate student Christine Hoffer, Celine Lamb the Sorbonne in Paris and 23 local workers in El Salvador. The 2011 field season was funded by the National Science Foundation.

"Students in the project are critical," said Sheets. "I caught up with less than ideal conditions of life and do valuable work, sometimes follow their own research paths based on the discoveries they make on the site." Since 1978, more than 30 graduate students worked under the covers at Ceren, including 14 who have received or are in the master's or doctorate.

"When I heard about Ceren, I immediately wanted to know more," said Teresa Masters candidate Heindel, who came to CU-Boulder after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and spent the 2011 season on the field, assess the crop fields was Ceren is frozen in time from the ashes. "We do not see this kind of culture throughout America, and we do not see this level of protection throughout the world ".

In 2009, the leaves and his team discovered an unknown Ceren Maya agriculture - intensive cultivation of cassava fields that were at least 10 tons of cassava, shortly before the eruption 1400 years ago. He was intense cassava cultivation first and only time in any New World archaeological site and leaves of cassava and other crops believe could have played a vital role in the diet of indigenous societies living in the tropical waters of America America, he said.

Worksheets with the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, the Smithsonian Institute, the Getty Conservation Institute and a number of universities since 1978. The 10 hectares of Joya de Ceren Archaeological Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993.

"When the radiocarbon dates of the measures, with thatched roofs in 1978, I have seen the end of my life's work. I knew that I no longer search for new archaeological sites," says Sheets. "And 'more than a century of research already done Ceren - somehow we have only scratched the surface."

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