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Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site El Salvador

Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under an eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano c. AD 600. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American populations who worked the land at that time. Joya de Cerén is remarkable by virtue of the completeness of the evidence that it provides of everyday life in a Mesoamerican farming community of the 6th century AD, which is without parallel in this cultural region. It was a pre-Hispanic farming community that, like Pompeii and Herculaneum in Italy, was buried under a volcanic eruption about AD 590.

Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site
Continent: North America
Country: El Salvador
Category: Cultural
Criterion: (III)(IV)
Date of Inscription: 1993

Agricultural village

Although a warning earthquake apparently gave residents time to flee, the ash preserved their personal belongings, from garden tools and bean-filled pots to sleeping mats and religious items, essentially freezing the agricultural village in time. Because of the exceptional condition of the remains, they provide an insight into the daily lives of the Central American peoples who worked the land at that time.

Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site Elslavador

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Llopango volcano

Around AD 200, the central and western parts of the territory of the modern Republic of El Salvador were buried beneath thick layers of volcanic ash from the Ilopango volcano. The area was abandoned and the late pre-Classical Maya cultural evolution was interrupted for several centuries until the ash layer had weathered into fertile soil.

Resettlement did not begin until around 400, and the Joya de Cerén settlement was founded before the end of the 6th century. As excavations are still in progress, it is not yet clear whether it was a small village or a larger community. Evidence from the structures excavated so far suggests that the inhabitants were farmers.

Slideshow for this Heritage Site


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