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Preface Payson Sheets As with many archaeological sites, the Cerén site was discovered by accident, as a bulldozer was flattening a hill for a construction project. It took a couple years to realize what was there, but now the site is a World Heritage Site (listed with the United Nations) and well protected and curated by the government of El Salvador. It is to the officials of the Ministry of Education, and particularly of CONCULTURA (Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y el Arte), that we owe a great debt of gratitude for their dedication to the conservation of the site. They have also led the way to opening the site for public visitation. A nongovernmental organization called the Patronato Pro-Patrimonio Cultural has been of great assistance in training guides and designing the part of the site open to public access. The Patronato officials have been very helpful to the project as well. The Museo Nacional David J. Guzmán has been highly professional in its care and curation of the great numbers of artifacts that have come from Cerén. The Jardín Botánico La Laguna has been helpful in the temporary storage of plant casts as well as assisting in field identification of plants found at the site. The U.S. National Science Foundation has been supportive in providing funding for the major field seasons with grant no. 9006482 and others. The Committee for Research and Exploration of the National Geographic Society has awarded grants for other field seasons. The support of these institutions is greatly appreciated.The University of Colorado has assisted with supplementary grants and awards.The current participation of the Getty Conservation Institute in assisting with the monitoring of on-site conditions and the creation of a management plan for the region is appreciated. A hearty ‘‘muchísimas gracias’’ is expressed to the crew of Salvadoran workers from Chalchuapa and Joya de Cerén who have learned such fine excavation and conservation techniques. It is an honor to work with such qualified and dedicated people. The research reported herein is the result of the hard work of the professional staff of the Cerén Research Project. Their wide span of disciplines ranges from archaeology to volcanology and includes geophysics, ethnobotany, ceramics, and other specialties. It is difficult to express in words my appreciation for their dedication to the site, trying to understand what happened some 1,400 years ago in a village in southern Mesoamerica. The authors of these chapters have tried to keep their words to a minimum, and to include only illustrations that are absolutely necessary, in order to keep printing costs, and thus the price to the public, reasonable. The data-rich and illustrationrich materials, as well as the full text of all reports written to cover each season’s research, are available on the CD-ROM An Interactive Guide to Ancient Cerén: Before the Volcano Erupted by Jen S. Lewin, Mark A. Ehrhardt, Mark D.Gross, and Payson Sheets and at the Cerén Internet website (URL Readers desiring more information or illustrations are encouraged to access one of these sources. Tseng 2002.3.21 12:14 6272 Sheets / BEFORE THE VOLCANO ERUPTED / sheet 9 of 238 THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK Before the Volcano Erupted Tseng 2002.3.21 12:14 6272 Sheets / BEFORE THE VOLCANO ERUPTED / sheet 11 of 238 THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK ...


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