restricted access Chapter 5: Ancient Home and Garden: The View from Household 1 at Cer
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chapter 5 Ancient Home and Garden: The View from Household 1 at Cerén Marilyn Beaudry-Corbett, Scott E. Simmons, and David B. Tucker Introduction Household 1 is a designation given to four functionally distinct structures that appear to have related to each other on the basis of proximity, complementary functions, contiguous extramural work areas, and interjoined traffic patterns (Fig. 5.1). These factors distinguish Household 1 from other nearby structures and set it apart as a domestic entity within the community. Household 1 is the most completely exposed domestic complex at the site and can serve as a model for the kinds of structures and activities that may also have characterized other households at the site. During the 1978 Zapotitán Valley project, Structure 1 at Cerén was partially excavated, along with a nearby roofed platform (Structure 5) and several extramural spaces. A northern section of unknown dimensions had been removed by bulldozers for the building of grain silos in 1976, so the incomplete nature of Structure 1 was recognized before the 1978 work. For various reasons, the full excavation of what remained of Structure 1 was not possible in 1978, so the cut bank was straightened and some tunneling was done. Two test pits to the south of Structure 1 revealed cultivated agricultural fields. (See Zier 1983 for a complete description of the 1978 Cerén excavations.) Additional excavation at Structure 1, as well as at Structures 6 and 11, occurred during four field seasons and is described in more detail in those seasons’ reports (Beaudry and Tucker 1989; Mobley-Tanaka 1990; Tucker 1990; Simmons and Villalobos 1993). This chapter reviews the architecture and artifacts of each structure. Following that is a discussion of the extramural areas associated with the domestic complex. Finally, Household 1 is viewed in terms of its probable place within the Cerén community . Structure 1 (Domicile) architecture Building layout, architecture, and construction of Structure 1 followed the template described in the opening of this section.This domicile building consisted of an interior room with a raised bench finished with a cornice, a front roofed and walled room, and in front of that a roofed area without walls (Fig. 5.2). The form of the structure as it was when excavated represents the culmination of several phases of construction. In 1990 the disturbed northern edge of the structure was cleared. The study of that profile provided some information about the building ’s construction history. At least three different phases of construction or remodeling were identi- fied. Phase 1 consisted of constructing the main part of the platform supporting the interior room and the roofed front room within the four columns and the walls. The structure had a large adobe block as a front step; this block is still in place against the original platform edge. Phase 2 consisted of adding to the front of the structure a low raised area, made of sandy fill and capped with a layer of sandy adobe. The top 10 cm Tseng 2002.3.21 12:14 6272 Sheets / BEFORE THE VOLCANO ERUPTED / sheet 57 of 238 46 beaudry-corbett, simmons, and tucker figure 5.1. Map of Household 1 structures. Tseng 2002.3.21 12:14 6272 Sheets / BEFORE THE VOLCANO ERUPTED / sheet 58 of 238 ancient home and garden: household 1 47 figure 5.2. Map of Structure 1, domicile. Tseng 2002.3.21 12:14 6272 Sheets / BEFORE THE VOLCANO ERUPTED / sheet 59 of 238 48 beaudry-corbett, simmons, and tucker of the partially buried adobe block remained exposed and still functioned as a step onto the platform . This second phase addition may have been a terrace similar to that in front of Structure 3. Phase 3 consisted of the addition of more fill and an adobe surface on the north side, which probably functioned as a new roofed front area without walls. This final renovation completely buried the adobe step. All levels of platform fill contained trash in the form of sherds and broken obsidian blades. Since fill from the initial phase of construction was not removed, it is not known whether it also contained trash. A raised adobe mound to the east of the structure may represent a construction phase that predates Phase 1 construction. As excavated, it can be described as a low (5–12 cm) adobe wall in a U-shape that abuts Structure 1 proper. However, it may have been a complete square or rectangle that was...


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Subject Headings

  • Volcanic ash, tuff, etc. -- El Salvador -- Zapotitán Valley.
  • Zapotitán Valley (El Salvador) -- Antiquities.
  • Mayas -- Antiquities.
  • Plant remains (Archaeology) -- El Salvador -- Zapotitán Valley.
  • Ceren Site (El Salvador).
  • Mayas -- Urban residence -- El Salvador -- Zapotitán Valley.
  • Animal remains (Archaeology) -- El Salvador -- Zapotitán Valley.
  • Social archaeology -- El Salvador -- Zapotitán Valley.
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