Cerén, a small Late Classic (650–900 ce) residential site that was buried during the eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano in the sixth or seventh century. Located in the Zapotitán Valley in central El Salvador, Cerén consists of two houses, outbuildings, activity areas, and a milpa (cornfield). The descending cloud of volcanic ash and gases burned palm-thatch roofs and wooden supports in walls, and blanketed the surfaces of all structures. The thirteen-foot-thick blanket of ash insulated site remains from erosion and decay, and the high temperatures of ash and gas at deposition fired the architectural features to nearly indestructible hardness.
Cerén appears to represent part of a dispersed settlement pattern of farmers living near their fields. Besides two houses, excavations have revealed storehouses containing storage pots for chiles, corn, and beans; a sweathouse; a kitchen; and workshop areas. The house most fully excavated had bajareque (mud-and-pole) walls and floors made of a thick layer of clay. Thatch-roof construction resembled that in modern Maya houses.
Evidence of domestic activities that occurred in sections of the house were preserved. Behind a dividing wall on the raised floor were four large pots and a maul, much like modern kitchens in traditional areas of El Salvador. In the central portion of the house were a spindle whorl, for spinning cotton thread, and a miniature ceramic vessel, perhaps made by a child learning the craft. The southeastern end of the house had the vestiges of a grass floor mat, probably used for sleeping.
The milpa at Cerén had parallel cultivation ridges with intervening furrows, a method very different from that used by modern traditional Maya agriculturalists. The plant casts indicate that the Cerén site was buried by ash shortly after the onset of the growing season, in May or early June.
See alsoArchaeology .
Payson D. Sheets, "Maya Recovery from Volcanic Disasters: Ilopango and Cerén," in Archaeology 32 (1979): 32-42.
Payson D. Sheets, ed., Archaeology and Volcanism in Central America: The Zapotitán Valley of El Salvador (1983).
Payson D. Sheets et al., "Household Archaeology at Cerén, El Salvador," in Ancient Mesoamerica 1 (1990): 81-90.
Payson D. Sheets, The Cerén Site: A Prehistoric Village Buried by Volcanic Ash in Central America (1992).
Allison, Penelope M., ed. The Archaeology of Household Activities. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Ardren, Traci, ed. Ancient Maya Women. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2002.
Dietler, Michael, and Brian Hayden, eds, Feasts: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives on Food, Politics, and Power. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001.
Lentz, David L., Marilyn P. Beaudry-Corbett, Maria Luisa Reyna de Aguilar, and Lawrence Kaplan. "Foodstuffs, Forests, Fields, and Shelter: A Paleoethnobotanical Analysis of Vessel Contents from the Ceren Site, El Salvador (in Reports)." Latin American Antiquity 7, no. 3. (Sept. 1996): 247-262.
Sheets, Payson D. Before the Volcano Erupted: The Ancient Cerèn Village in Central America. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.
"Cerén." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 24, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ceren
"Cerén." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved January 24, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/ceren
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.