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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

Salvadoran Archaeological Site Provides Window into Pre-Columbian Life

SAN SALVADOR – Nuevo Lourdes, an archaeological site in central El Salvador, provides insights into daily life in pre-Columbian times in this country and Mesoamerica, experts digging there said.

The site is related to everyday life and it was not a ceremonial location like other Mesoamerican areas, Shione Shibata, archaeological director at the Culture Secretariat’s Cultural Heritage Directorate, told Efe.

Construction workers found the Nuevo Lourdes site while preparing to build a housing project near Lourdes, located in La Libertad province, in 2013.

The initial findings two years ago included a wide farm field, an individual’s burial site and oblations, at least six cooking pots and assorted fragments from clay, obsidian and stone objects, experts said at the time.

The site dates to the late pre-Classical period (about 200 BC to AD 200), archaeologists said.

New excavations between September and October 2014 yielded 15 additional objects, including ceramic vessels and bowls, stone pestles used to grind corn, and two jade beads, which were shown to the media on Jan. 21 in San Salvador.

Researchers also found a number of bone fragments, including at least one skull, teeth and other fragments, Michelle Toledo, an archaeologist at the Culture Secretariat, told Efe.

The most recent findings, according to archaeologists, date from the late Classical period between AD 650 and AD 950.

Shibata said the New Lourdes site is especially important because the remains indicate it was a place of residence and work.

“Many investigations in the Mesoamerican region have found, mostly, ceremonial sites with pyramids” and other structures related to government or religious activities, Shibata said.

So far, researchers have not determined which pre-Columbian culture the Nuevo Lourdes archaeological site belonged to, and Hugo Diaz, one of the archaeologists involved in the study, said it could be Mayan.

The Mayans lived in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

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