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part four Artifacts Quite a variety of artifacts were found in the village of Cerén, ranging from the inorganic (ceramic, chipped stone, and groundstone objects), through bone and antler, to artifacts made from plant materials such as gourds and twine. Marilyn BeaudryCorbett examines the ceramics of the village in detail, including fascinating results from chemical compositional analyses of pottery. With the assistance of Ron Bishop, she identified two restricted groups, one imported and one made locally. With her data, she can see how tightly integrated Household 1 was with the religious buildings. Since 13% of the red ware ceramics (19 of 149) were imported, the village apparently was participating in an exchange system that was not only economic but also involved sociopolitical or religious aspects.Overall, a number of people made the pottery for the community , using different sources of materials. Individual pottery makers did not standardize the shapes of their products. Each household had a relatively standard set of chipped stone artifacts, all of obsidian. Each kept a few prismatic blades stored at predictable locations in the thatched roofs, to be pulled down, used, and then put back up. Each maintained a cache of yet-to-be-used blades higher up in the thatch. And each had a scraper or two and a microblade. All evidently were used as they were, without benefit of hafting or wrapping. Households did not make their chipped stone tools but rather obtained them readymade from an elite center in the valley; they apparently could choose from quite a few and thus have at least some effect on the exchange ratios.The only Tseng 2002.3.21 12:14 6272 Sheets / BEFORE THE VOLCANO ERUPTED / sheet 127 of 238 116 payson sheets lithic manipulation done by Cerenians was basic resharpening of scrapers and perhaps of macroblades. Similarly, each household had a basic set of groundstone tools, including a metate-mano pair, a few donut stones, and a jade (hard greenstone) axe. Each also had a few lajas (andesite stone slabs) for occasional grinding, as well as some smoothing stones probably used for architectural construction and maintenance. A household that diverges markedly from the above can indicate a part-time occupational specialization. Household 1, for example , had abundant hammerstones for the manufacture of manos, metates, and donut stones, as well as an unusual number of these three objects, apparently more than the household needed for its own use. Household 1 also occasionally produced a great deal more ground cornmeal than it needed internally , presumably for feasting events at nearby Structure 10. Linda Brown explored the animal bone, tooth, antler, and shell artifacts at Cerén. The most common species, used for food, tool material, and ceremonialism , was the deer. Other species used for food were dog, peccary, bird, rodent, snail, and turtle. Shell and antler artifacts found in Structure 12 received special treatment, likely because of the divinatory activities there. The deer skull headdress , scapulae, antlers, and other bones from Structure 10 are evidence of the centrality of deer ceremonialism at that structure. More artifacts made from plant materials were found at Cerén than at most Mesoamerican archaeological sites. They include plain and elaborately painted gourds, a palm fruit endocarp fashioned into a spindle whorl, baskets, mats, cloth, net bags, and a variety of wooden items. These artifacts give us some sense of what is generally not preserved in most open sites in moist tropical climates. The artifact section ends, appropriately, with a chapter on conservation by Harriet Beaubien. She and her objects conservators were on-site during all excavation seasons to ensure that the fragile artifacts were properly lifted and treated, to give them as long a life as possible. She considers both procedures for architectural conservation and general issues of conservation that apply widely. P.S. Tseng 2002.3.21 12:14 6272 Sheets / BEFORE THE VOLCANO ERUPTED / sheet 128 of 238 ...


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