Volcanism, Household Archaeology, and Formation Processes in the Zapotitan Valley, El Salvador
AuthorMcKee, Brian Ross
Committee ChairSchiffer, Michael B.
Culbert, T. Patrick
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractArchaeologists have long labored under the implicit assumption that the archaeological record is a direct reflection of past human behaviors. However, numerous cultural and environmental processes intervene between past behaviors and their reconstruction through archaeological inference. This study examines the interface between household archaeology and formation processes through the study of domestic materials from two contemporaneous sites in the Zapotitan Valley of El Salvador that were occupied by people who spoke the same language and belonged to the same regional political system. Ceren was a small village that was occupied for several decades before it was deeply buried by the eruption of Loma Caldera volcano. San Andres was a much larger center that also was affected by several eruptions, but did not experience long-term catastrophic abandonment or exceptional preservation. The research examines the effects of cultural formation processes, including reuse, discard, abandonment, and post-abandonment disturbance processes, and non-cultural formation processes, such as effects of catastrophic volcanic burial, and the effects of plants and animals. It compares the de facto refuse from Ceren with discarded materials from Ceren, and San Andres using the discard equation and methods developed in accumulations research to build a foundation for more generally applicable models to interpret household remains in western El Salvador and throughout Mesoamerica.