1 The Excavation of Structures P-12 and P-20 at Cihuatán, El Salvador Excavación de las Estructuras P-12 y P-20 de Cihuatán, El Salvador Earl H. Lubensky S A N F R A N C I S C O S T A T E U N I V E R S I T Y Treganza Anthropology Museum Papers N U M B E R 2 2
2 Treganza Anthropology Museum Papers Number Editorial Board Yoshiko (Miko) Yamamoto Karen Olsen Bruhns Editor Karen Olsen Bruhns Spanish Translation Paul E. Amaroli Graphic Design Tom Weller Copyright 2005 by Earl H. Lubensky ISSN
3 Contents Índice English Text Texto en Inglés 4 Spanish Text Texto en Español 24 Illustrations Ilustracións 46 References Cited Referencias Citadas 62
4 4 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 Foreword Earl Lubensky was attached to the US Embassy in San Salvador during the 1970s and in 1978, when he excavated at Cihuatán, he was Deputy Chief of Mission with the Embassy. Earl had long been an avocational archaeologist and had previously excavated in coastal Ecuador when he was attached to the US Embassy in Guayaquil. This report details his excavation of a small ceremonial platform within the Western Ceremonial Center of Cihuatán and some cleanup around a second, previously excavated, platform located on the Western Terrace just outside the wall in the fall of Cihuatán is El Salvador s largest known site and one of its most impressive. It has been the focus of a number of projects, beginning in the late 1920 s and continuing to the present. From I was directing the Cihuatán Settlement Archaeology Project in the residential areas to the south and west of the ceremonial centers (Bruhns 1980). William Fowler was excavating within the Western Ceremonial Center as part of his doctoral dissertation field work; this dissertation has never been published (1981). Jane H. Kelley and her students from the University of Calgary excavated in the San Dieguito sector to the North of the ceremonial centers in summer of 1979 (1988) after which time all investigation ceased due to the civil unrest in the country, which was especially strong in the region around Cihuatán. In 1994 Concultura managed to purchase the Eastern Ceremonial Center and an area to the south of the two ceremonial centers and in 1996 the Fundación Nacional de Arqueología (FUNDAR) was formed, specifically to protect, investigate and develop El Salvador s archaeological heritage, focusing on Cihuatán and the more recently discovered Las Marías, a second urban conglomerate of the Early Postclassic Guazapa Phase. This manuscript was prepared after Earl left both El Salvador and the diplomatic corps to seek his doctorate in archaeology at the University of Missouri, Columbia (which he received in 1991). He was not able to reanalyze his collections due to the civil conflict; indeed most collections were lost during those years (they were mainly stored at Cihuatán). The large incense burner he discovered at P-12, however, is in the David J. Guzmán National Museum in San Salvador. It has been restored and will eventually be put on display once more. The manuscript reflects what was known of Cihuatán and the Guazapa Phase in the 1980s and I have not really attempted to bring it up to date except to note a more accurate site size coming from a survey of the city limits of Cihuatán undertaken by Paul Amaroli and Fabio Amador, archaeologists with FUNDAR, in 1999 and to modify some statements about possible ethnicity of the inhabitants of Cihuatán. These have been identified as Pipiles, Chorotegas, and various other colonial groups, but the fact that the Acelhuate Valley was almost totally abandoned at the time of the Spanish Conquest and that Cihuatán had evidently been burned and abruptly abandoned some centuries before the arrival of the Spanish suggests that the Cihuatecos should not be identified with the quite different historic Pipiles. Current thought is that the majority of the inhabitant of Cihuatán were probably Maya. There were numerous Late Classic Maya centers in the vicinity; all were abandoned in the 9th century, the time of the Classic Maya collapse. The high degree of Mexicanization at Cihuatán, visible in architecture, settlement planning, and artifacts, may well be due to contact with highland Guatemala Maya groups, all of whom were also extensively Mexicanized by this time as well as to immigration or conquest by peoples from southern Mexico or the Gulf Coast. It will take much further investigation of Guazapa Phase sites to clarify the questions concerning the ethnicity of the overlords of Cihuatán and related sites. When Earl wrote this Cihuatán and Santa María,
5 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 5 already inundated by the rising waters of the Cerrón Grande, were the only two Guazapa Phase sites known. Since that time the sprawling urban center of Las Marías (municipio of Quetzaltepeque) has been found, as have been a series of sites in the Acelhuate Valley and along the slopes of Guazapa Volcano. In addition a number of Guazapa Phase sites have been located around Lake Guija and on the Balsam Coast of western El Salvador. Far from a unique local development, the Guazapa Phase seems to have been a major regional phenomenon, encompassing central and western El Salvador (no one has looked for Guazapa Phase sites in eastern El Salvador). Brief discussions and photographs of many of these sites may be seen on the Cihuatán World Wide Web site, One further note: As Director of the Cihuatán/ Las Marías Archaeological Project for FUNDAR, in consultation with Paul Amaroli and Fabio Amador, we have renamed one of the ceramic groups discussed in William Fowler s dissertation. This is the Tamoa ceramic group, now known as the Pishishapa ceramic group, after an old hacienda on the south side of Cihuatán. This Nahuatl name means Duck River or Duck Pond. There was formerly a permanent pond at Las Pampas, where the hacienda was located. As Earl mentions, the whole matter of Guazapa Phase ceramic typologies needs major revision. Fowler s unpublished 1981 typology is based solely on Cihuatán, with a nod to Santa María. The other known Guazapa Phase sites have yielded (mainly during survey, as virtually no excavation has been undertaken apart from Cihuatán) ceramics which are clearly closely related to, even identical with, those of Cihuatán, but there are also some major differences of types, variations within types, and in frequencies of types that need to be addressed. We hope to do so in the near future. KAREN OLSEN BRUHNS DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY/ FUNDACIÓN NACIONAL DE ARQUEOLOGÍA DE EL SALVADOR DIRECTOR, CIHUATÁN/LAS MARÍAS ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROJECT
6 6 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 Acknowledgements The excavations described in this paper were carried out under the guidance of William Fowler as principal investigator and the late Stanley H. Boggs, then Chief of the Department of Archaeology of the Administration of Cultural Patrimony of El Salvador. Karen Olsen Bruhns allowed me to participate in her site survey and excavations, providing me with an overall feel for the site. She also was helpful on ceramic analysis and other interpretations related to the excavations. I owe debts of gratitude, above all to Boggs, Bruhns, and Fowler for their help and their sympathetic understanding of the contribution to the archaeology of the area that an avocational archaeologist might make. I also wish to thank Virginia Steen-McIntyre for analyzing samples of volcanic ash from the site, the late Clement Meighan for arranging obsidian hydration tests, personnel of the American Embassy and community of San Salvador for their participation in the excavations. Caretakers at the site and several workers from the neighborhood also helped in many ways during the excavation and I appreciate their participation. The Interamerican Geodetic Survey in San Salvador kindly provided aerial photographs of the central site. I thank Richard Diehl, then of the University of Missouri, for reading and offering suggestions for improvement of my draft. I was Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy in San Salvador at the time of the project, and as such was provided security protection by the government from representatives of the military-controlled organization called ORDEN, and American security personnel from the Embassy who joined me at the site while I was Chargé d Affaires and who referred to me by the radio code name of digger. I am especially grateful to my late wife, Anita, for her patience during all my involvement in this project, especially while I converted our house in San Salvador, during the entire year of 1978, into a laboratory for the study and restoration, in my spare time, of artifacts from the excavations.
7 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 7 Introduction T HE SITE Cihuatán lies in west central El Salvador (Figure 1) about 37 km by road (the Carretera Troncal del Norte) north of San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador. The site is slightly more 3 km. north of Aguilares, being located some 700m. east of the highway (Figure 2). The principal part of the ancient settlement lies atop a low rise, the Loma de Cihuatán at approximately 320 m above sea level. It is bordered on the east by the río Acelhuate, now deeply cut into a gorge owing to its being San Salvador s sewer and on the west by the small río Chalchigüe. The soil on the Loma is weathered volcanic ash tempered with humus, lying on a base of decaying andesite which in places outcrops on the surface. The ancient settlement can be divided into two zones a supposedly elite ceremonial area and a residential zone presumably inhabited by the common people. The site covers an area of at least 300 ha. (Paul Amaroli, personal communication, January 2002) and may extend to the east side of the Acelhuate River an unknown distance as well. The core, composed of two identifiable ceremonial precincts, the Eastern and Western Ceremonial Centers, covers approximately 22 ha. (Figure 3). Fowler (1981b:36) described the Eastern Ceremonial Center as consisting of a number of large, rectangular platforms, the surfaces of which are littered with domestic pottery. There is a regular maze of rectangular plazas oriented at right angles to each other in the East Ceremonial Center with a number of temple platforms, presumably for religious activities subsidiary to those enacted in the West Ceremonial Center. The better known Western Ceremonial Center is quite different in layout. Dominating the West Ceremonial Center is a terraced, pyramidal temple platform, Structure P-7, which rises to a height of 13m above the surrounding plaza (Figure 4). There are a number of smaller platforms and two enclosed, I- shaped ball courts within that same center. The entire west plaza is enclosed by a stone wall, which may have been defensive or, perhaps, may delineate the ritual or civic area from the residential areas surrounding the ceremonial centers. P REVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS OF CIHUATÁN Cihuatán was abandoned centuries before the Spanish conquest. There are no references to the site in colonial documents and the Spanish were apparently unaware of its existence. The first recorded reference to Cihuatán is by the German physician and traveler, Simeon Habel, who visited Central America under the auspices of the Smithsonian Institution in (Habel 1878:37). Habel did not see the site but heard about Siwhuatán after passing nearby and arriving in the village of Guazapa where locals told him that he had passed by the site and that there were many ruins of foundation walls regularly laid out ( Habel 1879:38). Several visits were made to the site during the 1920s by Jorge Lardé and Samuel Lothrop (Lardé 1927, Lothrop 1926). The first serious archaeological activity was in 1929 when Antonio Sol excavated in the West Ceremonial Center and cleared and partially restored structures P-5 and P-7 (Sol 1929a, 1929b). In 1954, and again in 1965, Boggs (1972) excavated structure O-4 in the Eastern Ceremonial Center, where he encountered the only burial to be scientifically excavated at the site (other burials reportedly have been looted in the eastern portion of the site on the terraced slopes and flats near the river (Fowler 1981b:42). Since 1974 there has been considerable archaeological activity at Cihuatán. The Administración del
8 8 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 Patrimonio Cultural acquired the Western Ceremonial Center and the right of way to it, having it declared a National Monument in Gloria E. Hernández (1975, 1976) directed work from 1974 to 1976 on structures P-6A, P-13A, P-13B, and P-20. Karen Olsen Bruhns directed a settlement survey and excavations from 1975 to 1978 (Bruhns 1976, 1980), focusing mainly on the habitation zones to the south and west of the ceremonial centers. William Fowler directed excavations in the Western Ceremonial Center from 1977 through 1979, clearing structures P-1 and P-2 and trenching the Southeast Patios structure (Fowler 1981b, Lubensky and Fowler 1979). Jane H. Kelley excavated several residential structures and a ritual platform in the Barrio San Dieguito, to the northeast of the Western Ceremonial Center in 1979 (Kelley 1988). During the civil conflict of the 1980s little was done as archaeological work in El Salvador was concentrated in a safe region of the country the west (Boggs, personal communication 1983). However, in 1994 the Administracíon del Patrimonio Cultural succeeded in purchasing the Eastern Ceremonial Center and the area immediately to the south of the two ceremonial centers. Finally, in 1999, the newly formed Fundación Nacional de Arqueología de El Salvador (FUNDAR) obtained a contract from Concultura to develop and administer the site. A number of efforts have been made to map Cihuatán, beginning with Augusto Baratta in 1929 (Sol 1929b). In 1966 a group of students from Oxford University mapped a portion of the western part of the site in 1966 (Dallyn et al 1967). According to Boggs (1972, note 18) the Department of Anthropology of the National University (of El Salvador) prepared a map of the Western Ceremonial Center in In 1975 Bruhns, working with Charles Cecil, mapped a 27.4 ha sector of the south residential zone in 1975 (Bruhns 1976, Cecil 1982); in 1978 her crew mapped the newly cleared Western Ceremonial Center from scratch, superseding the composite map that Margarita Solís had made, which the Dirección del Patrimonio Cultural had circulated as a blueprint (Solís 1977). In 1995 Concultura commissioned a detailed topographic map of the two ceremonial centers and the adjacent southern section (which was, in fact, promptly lost in a computer accident) and, finally, in 1999 Paul Amaroli and Fabio Amador undertook a GPS survey of the southern part of the Loma de Cihuatán in an attempt to establish the ancient site limits in that area (www.cihuatan.org news ). C IHUATÁN S CULTURAL CONTEXT The occupation of the site of Cihuatán appears to fit entirely into the Guazapa Phase of the Early Postclassic. No evidence of any other period of occupation has been found. Fowler (1981b:99-100) dates both Cihuatán and the nearby (and now inundated) Santa María at approximately AD and calls these dates the temporal boundaries of the Early Postclassic period in central El Salvador, which he identifies with the Guazapa Phase in that area. This apparently is an outside estimate, for Bruhns (1980:104) says she and Fowler independently reached estimates of a primary occupation of about 150 years for Cihuatán with radiocarbon determinations indicating a date of around 1000 AD. There appears to have been an abrupt shift rather than a gradual transition between the Late Classic and Early Postclassic periods in the Central Basin area of El Salvador (Fowler 1981b:17) as later work has shown that the Classic Period sites of this region (all of apparent Maya affiliation) were all abandoned (Bruhns 2001). There have been many speculations concerning the identity of the inhabitants of Cihuatán, or at least of the overlords of the site. These range from assignation of this definitely prehistoric site to the historic Nahua-speaking Pipil, invading from central Mexico via the Gulf or Pacific coasts of Mexico (Fowler 1981b 18-27, 99) to Teotihuacán Pipil from the Veracruz coast (Andrews 1976: , Borhegyi 1965:39). These ideas have all been arrived at in the face of the lack of data from any other Guazapa Phase sites or, indeed, of sound dating on most Salvadoran sites, including all Postclassic ones. Perhaps the best that can be said of the ethnicity of Cihuatán is that the material culture appears quite mexicanized, bearing a strong resemblance to that of Early Postclassic sites in other parts of Mesoamerica. Thus Cihuatán is evidently part of some macro-regional phenomenon whose exact means of dissemination is as unknown as the ethnicity or ethnicities of the Guazapa Phase peoples.
9 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 9 The Excavations Permission to carry out investigations in the two structures was granted by the then Director of Cultural Patrimony, Roberto Huezo, by letter dated December 20, Excavations started on December 29, 1977 as a three-day exercise involving personnel of the American Embassy and members of the American community in San Salvador. Work continued on Saturdays and occasional holidays during Excavations were closed down on November 18, 1978, after a total of 19 field days of excavation. E XCAVATION OBJECTIVES The objective of the excavation at P-12 was to determine the architecture of the structure and, if possible, to determine its function. We hoped that there might be a burial, like the one found beneath the steps at structure O-4 in the East Ceremonial Center. The structure s relationship to other structures in the West Ceremonial Center, especially the West Ball Court, also was of interest. Objectives were more limited at P-20. This structure had previously been investigated and described by Gloria Hernández (1975, 1976) and our main interest was to determine if there were remains of an incense burner or burners at the base of the steps on the west side; this side of the platform had only been narrowly trenched in the original project. T HE EXCAVATION OF STRUCTURE P-12 My 1978 report to the Director of the Patrimonio Cultural contained a drawing showing the relative location of structure P-12, based on the Solís map. Unfortunately, P-12 on my map was oriented on the west wall adjacent to the West Ceremonial Center, which on the Solís map was skewed to the west rather than to the east, and on bench marks 13 and 14 placed in that wall. I may have made other errors in measurements resulting in a false orientation of P- 12 on my map. My analysis of the quite clear aerial photograph of Cihuatán (Figure 3) confirms that an error was made previously in locating and orienting this platform. Structure P-12 is clearly in a straight line with the west ball court, 27.45m from its north end. The southwest corner of P-12 is 11.82m from benchmark #14 in the West Wall, and the northwest corner is 12.5m from that benchmark. This error in orientation of P-12 has been corrected on the drawing of structures seen on the aerial photograph and on the new map (Figure 4). We first cut trenches 1 m wide along the north, east, and south sides of the platform, extending these downwards to bedrock below the level of the structure foundation. These sides were selected because of their exposure to the open ceremonial area in the West Ceremonial Center. The west side of P- 12 appeared to be close against the western city wall and thus apparently not convenient for public attendance at any ceremonial function. Later, a test cut was made at the center of the west side and, after the discovery there of steps and the remains of a spiked incense burner, the cuts were extended outward from the structure toward the wall enclosure and to the corners of that side. Before work was started on structure P-12, it was an almost amorphous mound, although its rectangular configuration was clearly visible on aerial photographs (Figure 3). After cleaning we could see the form more clearly (Figure 7). The platform is 6.17 m on the north side, 6.25 m on the south side, 8.25 m on the east side, and 8.40 m on the west side (where the steps are located). A cross-section cut from the west side to the center shows that the structure was erected on top of a soil surface. The structure itself was filled inside with rock to about 1 m deep over the soil surface (Figure 8) and rose about 1 m above the surrounding ground level at the center. The surface was higher at the center and the foundation of large irregular stones at the sides was only about 50 cm high (Figure 9). The original soil deposit beneath the structure consisted of a 40 cm layer of red soil, then a hard darker-colored distinct layer of only 2 cm deep, and beneath those layers about 10 cm of volcanic ash over the bedrock (Figure 8). Two or possibly three rows of larger stones, were built into the foundation. The rows are 58 to 70 cm wide and rise slightly above the cobblestone surface level of the structure. They appear to be the bases for the walls of a one- or two-room superstructure (Figure 8 and 10). The westernmost of these wall bases is 90 cm inward from the west side and from the staircase; the next is 2.80 m from the west side or about in the middle of the structure. In this mid-
10 10 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 dle wall base there is a break in the line of stones, 1.88 m from the south side of the structure, possibly indicating a doorway about 1.20 m wide. There is no apparent break in the base of the western wall. The third possible wall base appears at the east side but may have been the east foundation of the structure itself. A number of large stones found on the surface adjacent to the sides apparently had fallen from the structure, possibly from the previously existing wall of the superstructure. Quantities of burnt earth with imprints of twigs and grass were found on the surface of the structure and on the sides, indicating that the superstructure walls were finished with wattle and daub. Blocks of a soft talc-like stone of consolidated volcanic ash (talpuja) were found in the northwest, southwest, and southeast corners of the foundation at the level (approximately) of the original soil surface. The southwest corner was the best preserved. Six blocks had been neatly placed in two rows, four on the south side and two on the west side of the corner (Figure 11). Four talpuja blocks were still evident at the southeast corner, one on the south side and three on the east side. On the northwest corner there was one block on each side, one of which at the west side had fallen from its place in the wall. There was no evidence of such blocks on the northeast corner. The blocks ranged in size from 8 to 16 cm high and 30 to 50 cm long. There was some indication in the center cut that the structure may have been built in several phases, as was often the case in Classic and Postclassic structures in Mesoamerica. To test this possibility, the cobblestone floor in the northeast quadrant was removed to a depth of about 40 cm. There was no lower floor level, thus the structure was built in a single phase with no superimposed floor built over another one underneath. The stairs on the west side of the structure consisted of two steps below the platform or floor level. The staircase was 4.75 m wide and was placed almost precisely in the center of the west side. The tread on each step measured approximately 50 cm and the risers measured 18 cm. On each side of the steps and bordering them were small sloping balustrades 60 to 70 cm wide (Figure 5 and 12). They extend 40 cm beyond the top step at the same level, then slope downward from the level of the upper step over the lower step and continue downward to the west another 50 cm to below the level of the first step. Clean-up of the surface of structure P-12 resulted in finds of 67 obsidian blade fragments, 6 ceramic tile fragments, and 51 sherds including one vessel support and one red-slipped frying-pan incenseburner fragment. Discussion of the excavations (as distinct from the surface) and the finds in them can be divided into three parts: The north, east and south sides of the structure where there obviously was little activity, to judge from the relative lack of cultural materials. The second part is the activity area on the west side where the staircase to mount the platform was located. The third is the axial cut to the center of the mound from the west side. (Figure 5). The finds in the north trench consisted of only eight obsidian blade fragments and two sherds. The east trench produced six obsidian blade fragments, one ceramic tile fragment, and one rim sherd with fingerprint appliqué. Six obsidian blade fragments and three plain sherds were all that were found in the south trench. No artifacts were found in the areas designated (in Figure 5) as the northeast corner and the southeast corner. A special effort was made to expand the excavations at these corners to determine whether there might be obsidian deposits like those found at the corners on the west side, but none were found. Excavation was started on the south and east sides facing the ball court and the main plaza of the West Ceremonial Center in the thought these would have been the most active areas accommodating large groups of people for ceremonial functions, but the idea was proved wrong. The west side of the structure was only 12 meters from the west wall of the Western Ceremonial Center, allowing little space for the presence of people on that side. As a matter of fact, test cut 6 (TC6), which extended west 5 m beyond the other cuts on the west side, almost to the west wall of the Center, produced only 15 obsidian blade fragments, 17 sherds, and several pieces of wattle and daub, in addition to the part of what appeared to be a stone platform (Feature 6, Figure 5), all found in the eastern 2 m of that cut. The 1-m-wide excavated areas to the south and north of the balustrades of the staircase on the west side, extending to the corners of the structure, each produced a sizable concentration of obsidian blades
11 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 11 and blade fragments, possibly caches. The blades were not closely concentrated but were loosely clustered on the west side near the corners, starting about 24 cm below surface level. The concentration on the southwest corner contained 46 obsidian fragments; on the northwest corner there were 71 pieces. In this area there was a considerable amount of burnt wattle and daub, but a total of only six sherds. The area to the west of the structure was broken down into several test cuts (TC 1-7) (Figure 5). This area of excavations covered 7 m, north to south, along the approximate middle of the structure and extended 4 m to the west. An extension 5 m long and 1 m wide at the center of this area was excavated toward to western wall of the West Ceremonial Center. We identified six features in this area: Feature 1: Remains of spiked hourglass incense burner (in five concentrations of sherds) (Figures 14 & 15) Feature 2 : A deposit of burnt wattle and daub and talpuja near south balustrade, apparently part of a fallen wall (Figure 16). Feature 3: Another deposit of burnt wattle and daub, off the north central base of staircase (Figure 17). Feature 4: A large talpuja block, 50 cm in diameter and 20 cm thick located in TC 4 to NW of Feature 3 (Figure 18). Feature 5: A stone platform in TC 4 and TC 5 extending about 1.5 m west of the north balustrade (Figure 19). Feature 6: A stone platform in TC 2 and TC 6, only partially uncovered (Figure 20) A total of 351 obsidian tool fragments (mostly blades) and 82 sherds (in addition to the spiked incense burner fragments) were collected in the six test cuts adjacent to the west side of the structure P-12 (excluding TC6). A number of obsidian blades were clearly associated with the spiked incense burner (Feature 1) and with the burnt and fallen wall (Feature 2). Four hundred and fifty nine wattle and daub fragments of various sizes were picked up in this 4 x 7 m area. Two hundred and sixty of these were in Feature 1, which also produced almost 200 fragments of burnt talpuja and pumice. (See Figures 5 and 16). An interesting feature (unnumbered) was a row of pumice stones, each stone around 10 cm in diameter, placed neatly along the base of the bottom step of the staircase (Figures 5 & 21). The row was broken in the center portion of the steps and may never have existed there. Twelve of these pumice stones extended about 1.2 m in a broken row from the south balustrade toward the center of the steps. Another eight were in a row adjacent to Feature 3 along the northern portion of the bottom step. Exterior faces of these stones were scraped flat and formed an even plane. If these stones were in place during the occupation of the site, they would have had to be carefully avoided to prevent stepping on them or they would have been moved and broken, as may have occurred to those apparently missing at the extreme northern portion of the steps. The almost perfect alignment of this feature, so near the surface, into modern times indicates lack of any disturbing traffic in that area for the seven or so centuries since the site was abandoned! From the base of the stairs, starting about 10 cm below the bottom step, there was a stratum of pumice and burnt earth fragments approximately 10 cm deep, declining toward the west at an 8% grade (12 cm in 1.5 m). The spiked incense burner was found in this level, which itself either was the living surface at the time of occupation of the site, or covered that surface. In the center cut cultural material was found in the rock fill extending about 1 m below the surface of the structure. The soil layers beneath the rock fill (Figure 8) appeared to contain scattered spots of burnt earth, but a cultural association was not evident and these layers were otherwise sterile. From the rock fill itself 58 sherds and 8 obsidian blade fragments were collected. S TRUCTURE P-20 Structure P-20 had been partly excavated by Gloria Hernández in 1974 and This structure lies outside the Western Ceremonial Center on the wide, flat West Terrace (Figure 4), approximately 25 m from the West Ball Court. It is oriented almost precisely true north. The structure is m on the north side, m on the south side, m on the east side, and m on the west side where the steps are located. The exposed portion of the structure is an estimated 1.5 m above the soil surface. Even though P-20 is situated outside the walled enclosure, its proximity to the ball court, and
12 12 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 the fact that one side of the ball court, that adjacent to P-20, also lies outside the wall could indicate an association with the ball court. Its skewed orientation relative to the ball court might tend to negate that assumption. Hernández (1975:705) describes P-20 as a platform constructed with large unworked stones placed in rows and stuck together with mud (Figure 13). There are seven steps on the west side, though Hernández (1975:706) speculated that there may have been one or two more at the top where the degree of destruction prevented an accurate determination. At the base of the steps she described a sort of ramp 13.2 m long, parallel to the base of the structure, with the northwest corner completely lost (see broken line on Figure 6). The staircase and the balustrades were constructed of blocks of worked talpetate and talpuja (volcanic tuffs, talpuja is softer and lighter colored than talpetate). The staircase treads are 61 cm wide and the risers are 15 cm high. The other three sides of the structure are flanked with a basal platform making of the structure a stepped platform of two components. Hernández described the top of the mound as completely destroyed but possibly once covered with flat stones, some of which may have been found in her excavations. Looters had dug a rather large and deep hole into the top, which Hernández had cleaned out, allowing inspection of the inner construction, which is of large rocks, loose stones, and dirt. Hernández s field notes on file with the Patrimonio Cultural in San Salvador indicate that a good part of her effort on P-20 was devoted to clearing away the vegetation and debris, especially structural materials, from the top and sides of the structure. At the northwest corner of the structure she detected a veneer of flat slabs of lajas (presumably talpetate or talpuja facing stones). According to her field notes a test cut was made north of the steps, approximately 1 m from the balustrade, 0.81 by 0.89 m and 40 cm deep through a black clay, reaching bedrock. The exact location of the cut relative to the structure cannot be determined from the notes and drawing. The cut was sterile of archaeological material, and the original full extent of the platform at the base of the steps could not be determined (Hernández unpublished field notes 1975). The modern surface on the west side of P-20 slopes to the west at about a 9% grade. The ancient surface today is about 20 cm below the modern surface. Modern ceramic fragments and a twentieth century coin were found in the top 15 cm. of the overburden. Below 20 cm. a considerable number of obsidian fragments, ancient pottery sherds, and rock layers were uncovered. Scattered censer fragments from several vessels were found adjacent to the structure. Given the steep incline away from the base of the structure, fragments of an incense burner broken on the steps might have rolled downhill further to the west. This appears, however, not to have been the case since few ancient cultural materials were found in the western most cuts (5 and 6 -- though the excavation did not go to bed rock in these cuts). It is difficult to correlate the artifacts found by Hernández and those from our excavations, especially in an attempt to determine function of the structure. More extensive excavation on the west side and study of Hernández s material might help clarify function. Her published reports (1975 and 1976) do not distinguish the artifacts found at P-20 from those found in the West Ball Court or along the western wall. It is furthermore difficult to accept that no artifacts were found in the cut she made on the west side of the structure. The only artifacts she reports specifically for P-20 are a skull-shaped ceramic effigy and the feet from a large anthropomorphic figure (Figure 22). She collected two charcoal samples from the east face of P-20. No further information on these is available. Archaeological Materials from P-12 and P-20 C ERAMICS The ceramic artifacts associated with structures P- 12 and P-20 include censers, figurines, roof tiles, and vessels. No drain pipes were found at these two structures. In general I am following William Fowler s ceramic typology for the Central Basin of El Salvador (Fowler 1981b: ). I am also, where possible, relating his typology to that of Bruhns (1980:75-100) for Cihuatán. My category of coarse ware corresponds to Fowler s Las Lajas Coarse Group and to Bruhns s coarse ware.
13 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 13 Coarse Wares The censers, figurines, and the tile from the two structures fall into the category of coarse ware as they are thick-walled in construction with plain or unpolished surfaces, and tempered with coarse sand. Coarse ware is generally highly oxidized. Decoration on coarse ware censers, figurines, and tile from P-12 and P-20 is plastic. No decorative coloration was noted on coarse ware, although some may have been applied to coarse ware and subsequently eroded (Bruhns 1980:77-78; Fowler 1981b:139). Censers Incense burners (incensarios) are generally believed to have been used for the ritual burning of incense (Agrinier 1978:28-37; Boggs 1972:51; Fowler 1981b:129). The most characteristic incense burners from Cihuatán are a spiked, biconical (or hourglass) form. (Figures 23 and 24), which Fowler called Las Lajas Coarse Composite (Fowler 1981b:129). Fowler (1981b:1000) included the large biconical censers among the new cultural traits in the Early Postclassic period derived from central and southern Mexico. Certainly the censers found at Miramar, an Early Postclassic site in Chiapas, Mexico (Agrinier 1978:Figure 28c and 32b) are almost identical to those found at structures O-4 and P-12 at Cihuatán. There also is close similarity to the Toltec censers from Tula (Acosta :Figure 17) and to censers from many other Early Postclassic Mesoamerican contexts. The spiked censers found at Cihuatán have perforated grates positioned about halfway up, the function of which, along with perforations in the side wall of the burner itself, appears to be to provide a draft for burning. No evidence of interior smudging was found on the censers from P-12 and P-20, perhaps because of the eroded surfaces of the ceramics. Broken remains of spiked censers were found at the base of the steps on the west sides of both P-12 and P-20. This location is identical to that of the locations of other incense burners excavated at Cihuatán (specifically, Structures P-1, P-2, P-22, and O- 4), as well as at Moncagua, Santa María and other Early Postclassic sites in central El Salvador (Andrews 1976:111: Boggs 1972; Bruhns 1980; Fowler 1979; Lubensky and Fowler 1979). The censer fragments at P-12 were found in two main concentrations. The fragments at P-20, however, do not constitute entire censers, rather we encountered small portions of several censers scattered widely where the original soil surface apparently fell away from the western steps in a relatively steep incline. The spiked censer fragments from P-12 are almost identical in decoration to the censer found at structure O-4 some years earlier by Boggs (Figure 23). These spiked censers were generally at least 1 m high. Boggs (1972:52) speaks of dimensions possibly exceeding 1.5 m in height and 1 m in diameter. The incense burner from O-4 is 60 cm in diameter. The portion of the censer found in December 1977 in test cut 1 on the west side of P-12 was assembled and presented to the Museo Nacional in a partially restored condition (Figure 24). A large part of the rest of the same censer was found during the excavations in 1978, principally in test cut 2. The restored portion of this censer measures 46.5 cm in height at the highest part, representing probably about half of the original height. The inside diameter is 46 cm and the outside diameter is 52 cm at the base of the censer. Measurements at the top of the restored portion (middle of the original censer) are 36 cm inside diameter and 40 cm outside diameter excluding the spikes, making the thickness of the wall at that point only 2 cm. These last measurements probably are at the narrowest part of the hourglass-shaped (or biconical) censer, where the two horizontally truncated cones meet and where the grate rested on projections on the inside of the censer. The censers from P-12 (Figure 24) and from O-4 (Figure 23) have three flanges at one border with a row of circular medallion designs between the flange on the edge and the second or middle flange. At the other border there are only two flanges with the row of medallions between them. If the censer at the Museo Nacional shown in Figure 23 is positioned correctly, then the reconstructed portion of the censer from P-12 is the top part, and the portion found later (Figure 15) is the bottom part of the censer. Both censers have a prominent hole in the upper half just above the grate level, in the case of the one from P-12 that is within the unreconstructed portion. In the restored portion of the P-12 censer, looking at it in the position shown in Figure 24, the edge flange is 3 cm wide and protrudes 1 cm from the
14 14 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 body. The space between the edge and middle flange is 5 cm and is occupied by pre-fired appliquéd medallion designs about 4 cm in diameter, each with buttons about 2 cm in diameter in their centers, the medallion and buttons protruding about 0.5 cm. The middle flange is 5 cm wide protruding about 1 cm. There is a space of about 1 cm between the middle and the upper (or inner flange), the latter being 1.5 cm high and protruding about 3 cm, considerably more than the other two flanges. No measurements were made of the other (bottom) end of the censer, but they are probably about the same as the top end, excluding the third (or inner) flange. The edge flanges on the bottoms of the censers (Figure 23 and 15) have reclining V or chevronexcised designs pointing counter-clockwise, each excision being about 4 cm long, 0.3 cm wide, and 0.1 cm deep. The edge flange at the top of the censers (Figures 23 and 24, the latter viewed bottom side up) also have the reclining V or chevron-excised design pointing clockwise. The middle flange on the top portion of the P-12 censer has excised slanting lines sloping downward to the right or clockwise each excision being about 3.5 cm long, 0.4 cm wide and 0.1 cm deep. The same flange on the 0-4 censer has excised lines slanting downward to the left or counterclockwise. The bottom or inner of the three flanges on the top portion of the censer from P-12 has no design, though the same flange on the O-4 censer has excised slanting lines sloping downward to the right or clockwise. The bodies of the censers are covered with spikes, set 5 cm apart in staggered rows about 3.5 to 4.5 cm apart on the horizontal plane. Each spike is about 3 cm in diameter and protrudes 2.5 cm from the body of the censer. The spikes, just as the medallion designs and the flanges, are pre-fired appliqué, and occasionally break off and are found separately. A practical function of these spikes may have been to disperse heat. Although the two censers from O-4 and P-12 are so much alike they could have been made by the same artisan, there is some variability between these two almost identical artifacts. But some fragments of other incense burners at P-12 and many of those found at P-20 are quite different. In some cases the medallion design was used, but the button in the center was omitted (from P-12, Figure 26a; from P- 20, Figures 26b, 26c, 27, 29a). At times the excisions were omitted from the flanges in positions next to the medallion design (from P-20, Figures 28a, 28b, 29b, 30). Spikes were not uniform in size on all censers, some varieties (from P-20, Figure 26f) measured 1.5 cm to 2.0 cm in diameter and protruded only 2 cm from the body. On some fragments there were no spikes at all where they would have been expected (from P-20, Figures 27 and 28b). Some fragments were from censers with much smaller diameters (e.g., 18 cm on one end [Figure 27]). Bruhns (1980:78) speaks of a biconical or tubular type ranging down in size to somewhat less than 18 cm in height and found in domestic contexts. Fowler (1981b:137, Figure 28f-g) also mentions a miniature variety. There is another type of spike, more like a knob or nipple (from P-12, Figure 31; from P-20, Figure 32). These are generally placed, in apparent erratic fashion, on what appear to be censers, but probably of much smaller and different type than the hourglass censer. The knobs or nipples on those of this type found in P-12 and P-20 vary in size but on the average run a little over 1 cm in diameter and protrude less than 1 cm. None of these knobs in the samples from P-12 and P-20 were broken off, but a number from other excavations at Cihuatán were broken off (Bruhns, personal communication, 1983), thus the small knobs probably also were appliqué. Several examples of this type of decoration were found on the surface at P-12, but at P-20 they were found below 35 cm. and generally beneath a rock fall and even beneath foundation stones as far down as 80 cm. Censers of the ladle or frying pan variety, identified by fragments of the tubular handle, were found in small numbers at both P-12 (Figure 25) and at P-20. The handles are about 4 cm. in outside diameter and are hollow. One specimen from P-12 is red-slipped and the other is red-on-buff, the decoration forming alternating circumferential stripes about 1.2 cm in width (Figure 25a). The paste in these censers is relatively fine, dense, and homogenous, the description Fowler (1981b: ) used for Pishishapa Red-on-Buff, one variety of which he relates directly to ladle censers. Both of these frying-pan censer fragments fit Fowler s Pishishapa Red-on-Buff, appendage type e. A polished brown ladle censer handle from P-20 may have had red paint in another part, or the paint had faded, thus
15 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 15 probably could also be classed as Pishishapa Red-on- Buff. These ladle censers do not appear to correspond to those described by Bruhns (1980:78) as coarse ware with slipped or burnished decoration in red or red-on-tan, nor to Fowler s exotic Mixtecstyle censer (Fowler 1981b:260), which he (personal communication) says is larger. Figurines and Effigies Few figurine or effigy fragments were found at P- 12 or P-20. Fowler (1981b:129, 149, 196, Figure 45) draws a distinction between effigies and figurines. He records only 20 figurine fragments (Fowler 1981b:269) but over 500 effigy fragments, mainly of the Las Lajas Coarse Modeled type (Fowler 1981b:139). There were a possible two effigy or figurine fragments at P-12 and two at P-20, one of the latter being found by Hernández during her 1974 excavations (Figure 22; Boggs personal communication 1978). Only a sandalled foot remains of that figure, which is also illustrated by Fowler (1981b:Figure 45) as representative of his ceramic type Zancudo White Polychrome, subtype g. (effigies). A pair of feet, with toes, remains from another figure found in cut 9 at P-20 (Figure 33a). This figure would correspond to Fowler s Las Lajas Coarse Modeled (Fowler 1981b:139). In the center cut (fill) of P-12 a sherd (Figure 33b) with an ornamental design in applied relief was found. This is possibly part of a figure (Lubensky 1978:5). The applied design seems to represent a tree trunk with a single branch, but too little of the artifact is present to be sure. Bruhns (personal communication, 1983) says it is similar to the vegetable type decoration that is also found on incense burners, of which there are several from Hernández s excavations. The second possible figurine or effigy fragment from P-12 is shown in Figure 34a. The solid, bulky nature of the fragments indicates that it was some sort of figurine. The design may represent a feline head. Two other unidentified sherds may also have been figurine or effigy fragments (Figure 34b, 34c). Merlon Tile Pieces of tile, perhaps used as decorative elements along the roofs of temples and domestic structures (Bruhns 1980:93), were found associated with both platforms. Bruhns (1980:93) also suggested these roof tiles might have had some supernatural or ceremonial significance in addition to whatever decorative function they may have served. She called them typical Coarse Ware, but did not classify them under her Coarse Ware type. Fowler seemed purposely to have excluded discussion of tiles from his dissertation (Fowler 1981b:448), referring to them as almenas or merlons. Three undecorated tile fragments (not illustrated) were found in cut 7 of P-20. Hernández (1975:712) recorded ceramic block fragments with incised decoration (remains of a frieze), but again did not tell from which of her several excavations at Cihuatán these fragments came. At least seven tile fragments were found at P-12, five of them on the surface of the mound itself, one in the center cut (fill), and the seventh in the east trench at the bottom of the excavation (Figures 35-38). Four of the fragments (Figures 35a, 36a, 36b 37b) show grooves about 1.5 cm wide and 0.5 cm deep, cut out before firing. The flat plate-like fragments all measured about 2.5 cm thick. The designs are formed by grooves parallel to the edge of the tile, even around corners. In one case (Figure 37b) one groove was straight with another curved groove running alongside. In two cases (Figures 37a, 38) a ridge in relief (also pre-fired molding) 0.3 to 0.7 cm above the surface in straight lines provided the decoration. One of these fragments (Figure 38) was striated with two sets of shallow parallel incisions roughly meeting in wide v-shaped formations. Another (Figure 35b) has no grooving but has a series of parallel striations meeting at different angles. Vessels Most vessel sherds were tempered with mediumto fine-grain sand; at least one sherd was noted without evidence of temper. Vessel sherds generally ranged from 4 to 10 mm thick with a small percentage over 10m. There was a rare specimen under 4 mm. Although the surface of most undecorated vessel sherds was unmodified, a number were smoothed and a few were polished. These undecorated vessel sherds (Figures 39a-n & 43a-f) judging from paste, temper and wall thickness, would correspond most closely to Fowler s (1981b:6) Tamulasco Plain. Vessels also exhibit both plastic decoration and slip painting. Plastic forms of decoration include incision, appliqué, and finger-impressed appliqué
16 16 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 ( piecrust rim). Color-decorated vessels include those with red slip (Figure 39o-s, 43g-h) and white slip (Figure 43i), probably corresponding to Fowler s types Garcia Red and Quijano White (Fowler 1981b: , 179) and to Bruhns s Red Ware and White Ware (Bruhns 1980:79-81, 3). Zoned red painting, either on an undecorated surface or on the surface after having been slipped with a natural beige (Figure 41ad, 43k), or painted white or cream (Figure 41f), also was noted, probably corresponding to Fowler s Pishishapa Red-on-Buff and his Quijano Red-on-White (Fowler 1981b: , ) and Bruhns s Red and Tan Ware and her Local Polychrome (Bruhns 1980:83-84, 87-88). Several sherds with red paint at the lip (Figure 40a-d) are classified as Tamulasco Red Rimmed, though Fowler might classify them as Garcia Red or Pishishapa Red-on-Buff. Four smoothed brown sherds (Figure 40e-h), all from P-20 appear to correspond to Fowler s Cachinflin Black-Brown (or possibly Peralta Brown) (Fowler 1981b: ) and to Bruhns s Tan to Brown Monochrome Wares or her Self Slipped Wares (Bruhns 1980:81-83). A red, black, and buff polychrome (Figure 41e) is classified as Jején Red Polychrome (Fowler 1981b: ) and Bruhns s Local Polychrome (Bruhns 1980:87-88). One possible Tohil Plumbate sherd (Figure 41g) was found at P-12. Only a few bowls with incised decoration were Surface: total sherds=39 37 identified: 7 plain, 2 red, 1 white Center cut (inside structure): total sherds 30, 21 identified: 7 plain, 5 red, 8 white, 1 Las Lajas Coarse Incised Test cuts: total sherds =5, 1 identified: red West side: 1 red East trench: 1 Las Lajas Appliqué South trench: 3 plain North trench: 2 plain SW trench: no sherds NW corner: 1 red SW corner: 3 sherds, 2 identified, 1 red, 1 plain 1 Tohil plumbate sherd was found; its location was not recorded. Table 1. Sherd counts for P-12 found. One was in the center cut at P-12 (Figure 42a) and is classified as Pishishapa Buff Incised (Fowler 1981b: ). Several sherds found at P- 20 (figure 42b-d) also would be classed as Pishishapa Buff Incised. Bruhns s type Brown Incised (Bruhns 1980:84-85) probably also would fit these sherds. The vessels from P-12 and P-20 are mostly open bowls and everted rim jars, judging from rim forms (Figures 39-43). One example of a constricted bowl was found at P-12 (Figure 39l) and two at P-20 (Figure 39m-n). Several indications of polypod vessels also were found (e.g., Figure 42f), and there was one instance of an annular base bowl (Figure 42e). Several examples of vertical handles (e.g., Figure 43j) were found, presumably from large jars, and one example of a horizontal handle was associated with a finger-impressed vessel (Figure 45) (Las Lajas Coarse Impressed Fillet). Most of the rims of both bowls and jars were rounded. Some of these were thickened on the interior and at least one (Figure 39b) was thickened on the exterior. A few rims (Figures 39i, 39m, 39n, 41c, and possibly 41g) could be classed as straight rather than round edged. Bowl rims outnumbered jars by at least 3 to 1. Vessels with finger-impressed or piecrust motifs form an important part of the P-12 and P-20 ceramic collections (Figures 44-47). In all cases this plastic decoration was associated with coarse ware and fits precisely Fowler s Las Lajas Coarse Impressed Fillet (Fowler 1981b: ) and Bruhns s (1980:79) appliqué piecrust fillet under her Coarse Ware. The piecrust motif was applied in strips and then impressed with the thumb or finger or with some instrument. The vessels may have been bowls, perhaps of the tripod variety illustrated by Bruhns (1980:28-29, Figure 7a). One of the fragments seems to have been from a constricted rim bowl (Figure 44c). Another (Figure 44b) may have had the decoration applied at the carination of an unknown type of bowl rather than at the lip. In one case (Figure 46b) the piecrust lip is associated with a flange immediately below it, making it reminiscent of some of the incense burner types, perhaps indicating these vessels are type of censers and were ceremonial in function. Fowler (personal communication) believes they are in fact another type of censer. They generally fit his description of miniature hourglass censers of the Las Lajas Coarse Composite type in
17 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 17 which a finger-impressed fillet may sometimes replace the medallion (Fowler 1981b:138). In one case there are two rows of finger impressions with a large horizontal handle between them (Figure 45). Unfortunately the diameter of this vessel was not measured, but must be around 30 cm. Attributes Study A limited attributes study was made of the vessel sherds found at P-12 during the first period of excavation. The study excludes fragments of hour-glass incense burner and other censers, tile, and obvious figurines and effigies. A comparison of the ceramics in the fill underneath the structure of P-12 with those found outside the mound showed that no fragments of hourglass or spiked incense burner were found in the fill, only ladle incense burners were found both inside the fill and outside the structure. The dimensions and attributes covered in the study were the following: Temper: coarse sand >1.0 mm, medium sand mm, fine sand <0.5 mm, no observable temper. Thickness: <4mm, 4-7mm, 7-10mm, 10-20mm, and 20-30mm (the last was dropped from this study since all in this size range were incense burner fragments). Surface Treatment: Plain, Smoothed, Polished Decoration: Red Slip, White Slip, Red-on-Buff, Red Rim, Incised, Appliqué, Finger-Impressed A comparison was made of the attributes of sherds found in the fill of P-12 with those found elsewhere, that is on the surface and in the other excavations on the sides of structure P-12. The chisquare test was used. It was designed to determine whether cultural debris from the fill was present at the site (or elsewhere) before the structure was built, and whether much of the deposit found on the surface and sides of the structure was from later activity, as seemed logical. The sample on which the attributes study was based was small and comprised 21 sherds from the center cut, 39 from the surface and 13 from the other excavated cuts. Figure 48 shows the breakdown of these sherds with percentages in each category. Figure 49 shows the attribute categories as slightly modified, that is lumped together where frequencies fell below the minimum advised for the chi-square test attempted on these data. A first test was to compare the artifacts from the surface and other cuts, to check for differences among them, excluding the artifacts from the center cut. They are shown separately in Figure 48, then are lumped together for the test, since artifacts in these two deposits outside the structure form part of the same cultural deposition and period subsequent to construction. The chi-square test on these two components came out with insignificant results for each of the four categories tested. The attributes test, however, comparing those two components from outside the structure with artifacts from the fill showed significant differences. Sherds in the center cut (fill) were tempered 86% with coarse sand and 14% with medium sand or no apparent temper, whereas those from the other cuts and from the surface were 40% tempered with coarse sand and 60% with medium and fine sand. The ceramic vessels from the center cut (fill) were thicker than those from the rest (outside) of the structure, 38% being <7mm thick, 24% 7 to 10 mm thick, and 38% 10 to 20 mm thick for the center cut, compared to 69% < 7 mm thick, 25% 7 to 10 mm thick, and only 6% 10 to 20 mm thick for the surface and side cuts outside the structure. In spite of more coarse sand temper and greater thickness, it seems that more careful treatment was accorded the surface of the vessels in the center cut (fill) 33% plain, 57% smoothed, and 10% polished compared to 83% plain, 17% smoothed, and none polished in the surface and peripheral collections. A considera- Nine cuts were made in P-20. Sherds were not counted from cuts 4, 5, & 6 Cut 1: 5 red sherds Cut 2: 4 plain sherds, 1 red sherd Cut 3: 5 plain sherds Cut 7: 4 red sherds, 1 Tohil plumbate sherd, 2 modern glazed sherds Cut 8: 3 censer and tile sherds Cut 9: 70 plain sherds, 15 red sherds, 3 white sherds, 6 Las Lajas Impressed sherds, 1 Las Lajas Incised sherd, 2 Nicoya Polychrome sherds Note: the sherds from the concentrations of incense burner were not counted. Table 2. Sherd counts for P-20
18 18 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 bly larger percentage of the sherds in the center cut had been decorated in some manner 19% red slipped, 38% white slipped, 5% (one only) red-onbuff, and 5% (one only) incised, compared to only 10% red slipped, 2% white slipped, and 2% red rim from the surface and peripheral cuts. Total decorated sherds from the center cut were 67% and for the other areas only 16%. A level of significance for the chi-square test of.005 was selected. In appropriate cases the Yates Correction for Continuity was applied. In all four categories (temper, thickness, surface treatment, and decoration) the null hypothesis was rejected, the last two by a considerable margin. Thus a significant difference was noted in the attributes of the vessel sherds in the two discrete deposits associated with structure P-12--the fill and the surface\perhipheral deposits. L ITHIC MATERIALS Obsidian At structure P-12, 584 obsidian artifacts, whole and fragmentary, were found. They were on the surface, in the peripheral excavated cuts, and in the foundation fill. Their distribution is shown in the caption to Figure 5. Only 88 obsidian fragments were found at P-20, though it must be considered that the excavations were not so extensive and P-20 had been previously excavated. Of the 584 specimens from P-12, 546 were unretouched prismatic blades, or blade fragments, 15 wastage or debitage, 4 utilized flakes, 13 macroblades, 1 polyhedral core, 4 retouched blades including one spokeshave, and 1 scraper. At P-12, the percentage of unretouched prismatic blades (93.5%) was above the average for the site of Cihuatán as a whole (83.5%) and for the whole collection including Santa María (82.3%). At Santa María the percentage of prismatic blades was only Fowler (1981b:322) suggested the possibility of specialization in blade production not only at Cihuatán but at Santa María as well and pointed to several indications of standardized manufacturing techniques, though not excluding production at the household level. Fowler (1981b:323) also analyzed the cutting edge/mass ration (CE/M) of the prismatic blades at the two sites. The overall mean ratio for Cihuatán is 4.07 cm/g (centimeters per gram), compared for instance to the mean CE/M of 2.69 cm/g at Chalchuapa (western El Salvador), which is much nearer to obsidian sources. This indicates that obsidian at Cihuatán was more costly than at Chalchuapa and thus had to be processed for more efficient use. The CE/M ration at P-12, based on analysis of 174 blades, is 4.13 cm/g or almost the same as the Cihuatán mean. Of special interest to the obsidian hydration laboratory at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) were the obsidian collections from the caches found at the two western corners of P-12, since they were relatively large collections with likely contemporaneity. Also, a fair test of the possibility of two or more hydration rates for obsidian from more than one source could be made with these samples. The two collections consisting of 111 specimens were sent to the UCLA laboratory for obsidian hydration determinations. Of the 111 specimens sent, 37 were selected for testing, that is 14 out of 44 from the southwest corner and 23 out of 67 from the northwest corner. The results of the tests on the P-12 obsidian collections as published by the Institute of Archaeology at UCLA (Meighan and Russell 1981:87-93; Meighan 1981: ) showed a range in microns of 2.0 to 3.0 and an average in microns of From among the 37 samples, two bands were cut and read on 15 of them making the total readings 52. (My calculation of the average of the 52 readings is with standard deviation 0.3, but with each of the samples counted as one where there were two readings, these two being averaged. The average was 2.60 microns with standard deviation.258). Readings from the SW corner of P-12 were or (depending on how the two-band readings were averaged) and from the NW corner or 2.619, an insignificant difference, tending to confirm the contemporaneity of the two corner deposits. Meighan (1981:147) noted that my sample consists of a large number of fragments of single-flake blades, all from some sort of offering presumably deposited all on the same day. Therefore, the hydration readings should all come out essentially the same. They are all between two and three microns in size; 23 of the 37 readings are the same, i.e., within 0.2 microns of the average reading of 2.5 microns. The rest of the readings are slightly outside
19 L U B E N S K Y T H E E X C A V A T I O N O F S T R U C T U R E S P A N D P A T C I H U A T A N 19 that range; their deviance may be due to differing sources, inclusion of some obsidian blades that were older than the rest, or some other cause. However, the consistency of readings is not bad for this lot of contemporary material there are no widely deviant readings. My comment on the analyses made by the Obsidian Hydration Laboratory was published in part by the UCLA Institute of Archaeology (Lubensky 1981). I noted in that letter that I had made the point in a paper delivered at the meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver in 1979 (Lubensky and Fowler 1979) that there was some degree of contemporaneity for these two deposits, possibly associated with construction of the structure itself. I commented in the letter that the reading of 2.8 and above may seem a little high based on what we think we know of Cihuatán, but using the lower side of the deviation range (400±50 or 350) we get 1050 years BP for those of 3.0 microns, putting Cihuatán at the beginning of the Postclassic, which is possible. I also pointed that it is possible that, although deposited at the same time, some of the blades may have been made (and set aside, hoarded, etc.) long before being deposited. Meighan (1981:146-47) related the average hydration readings with the C-14 results reported from Cihuatán and concluded that a hydration rate of 400±50 years per micron would fit all the evidence. Thus a 2.5 average for P-12 would correspond to 1000±130 BP (including a reading uncertainty on the obsidian hydration bands of ±0.2 microns) or approximately AD 855 to Meighan (1981:147) estimated that the samples from Bruhns appear to come from part of the site that is a couple of hundred years older than the samples from Boggs and Lubensky. The readings from Bruhns s samples average 2.96 microns and came from house sites to the south and west of the West Ceremonial Center and a platform structure also immediately to the west of the west wall of the West Ceremonial Center. (This area may have been the source of the fill for P-12.). Bruhns (personal communication) thinks that a number of the pieces tested were recycled from the nearby Classic period site on the Hda. San Francisco. Before sending the collections to UCLA I made a study of the 111 blades, blade by blade, covering characteristics of the obsidian, whether clear, cloudy/opaque, and streaked; which part of the blade was represented, that is center, proximate end, or distal end; and degree of use heavy, medium, or slight; all separated between the two corner collections. Not all blades could be read, therefore percentages do not all total 100. A portion of those blades is illustrated as Figure 50. The results of the study are shown in Table 3. The comparisons in Table 3 show an almost identity of characteristics between the two collections, strengthening the supposition that they were deposited from the same batch, and at the same time. Only the degree of use shows some deviation, but not beyond that that might be expected from random selection, and furthermore the evaluations in that test were more subjective than in the other two, especially since the blades showed different degrees Characteristics Parts of Blade Represented Southwest Corner Southwest Corner Northwest Corner Clear 20 (46%) 32 (48%) Cloudy/Opaque 16 (38%) 24 (36%) Streaked 8 (14%) 11 (16%) TOTAL 44 (100%) 67 (100%) Northwest Corner Center 25 (57%) 39 (58%) Proximate 15 (34%) 24 (36%) Distal 2 (5%) 4 (6%) Flake 2 (4%) TOTAL 44 (100%) 67 (100%) Use Wear Southwest Corner Northwest Corner Heavy 7 (16%) 19 (28%) Moderate 24 (56%) 31 (47%) Slight 12 (28%) 17 (25%) TOTAL 44 (100%) 67 (100%) Table 3. Obsidian remains from P-12 deposit
20 20 T R E G A N Z A A N T H R O P O L O G Y M U S E U M P A P E R S N U M B E R 2 2 of use on their two sides, and probably whether the distal, proximate, or center portion was measured for use. The heavier use measurement between the two sides of the blade was selected for the statistical comparison. The analysis of all blades was made before the idea was developed of using the data to compare the two collections. It was thought that differences in color of the obsidian might correlate with differences in source, if indeed two or more different hydration rates might indicate different sources. The data appear to indicate a single hydration rate (as distinct from the data from the sites of Santa María and Los Flores submitted by Fowler [Meighan 1981:148; Fowler 1981a:148] which indicate the possibility of two distinct hydration rates and two different sources.) It is difficult to explain why there were so many proximate ends and so few distal ends in the collections. The blades must have been put to some use which caused the blade to break off first at the distal end which was then discarded, then the center and proximate end was used until that portion broke, rendering the blade of no further use. The array of blade fragments in the two collections was thus made up of blades broken after the second stage of usage, that is principally with center fragments and proximate ends. There were no whole blades in the two collections, thus regardless of the cutting-edgeuse factor, whether slight or heavy the blades were discarded when finally broken beyond use. An effort was made to find matches among the 111 blades and every edge was checked against every other edge. No matches were found. There were whole blades from other parts of the site of structure P-12, but no study beyond that of Fowler on cutting edge/mass ratio was made on them. Ten obsidian artifacts from the caches at the western corners of structure P-12 were submitted to the Missouri University Research Reactor (MURR) for neutron activation analysis under a support program from the facility s National Science Foundation Archaeometry grant (BNS ). They determined that nine of the specimens were from Ixtepeque and the remaining specimen from El Chayal. Ixtepeque is the closest obsidian source site to Cihuatán therefore it is not surprising that most of the obsidian used at Cihuatán comes from Ixtepeque. Obsidian submitted by Fowler resulted in similar conclusions (Fowler et. al. 1987). Other Lithics Except for the rocks from which the structure itself was made and the obsidian, there were few other lithics from P-12 or P-20. S OILS AND ASH The soils of the Pipil-Nicarao habitat are discussed by Fowler (1981b:697-98), who makes reference to other sources. Fowler says that an important asset of the Pipil-Nicarao habitat is its fertile soils...primarily derived from recent volcanic materials. Bruhns (1980:3) describes in technical detail the soil profile for the Cihuatán area. She concludes that the arable land available to the ancient Cihuatecos was quite varied and presented the possibility of growing a range of crops including common subsistence crops such as yucca, maize and other vegetables, cotton and tree crops such as cacao and various fruits. Much of the soil excavated from around the structures P-12 and P-20 appeared to be volcanic in origin, as did the soil from the center cut (fill) of P- 12. A number of samples were analyzed by Dr. Virginia Steen-McIntyre. First, she analyzed soils from the center cut (fill) at P-12. One sample was from the upper layer of red earth just below the rock foundation of the structure; the other was from the lower layer just above bedrock. She stated (personal communication April 12, 1978) that both samples are impure, but have a large percentage of volcanic glass fragments and phenocrysts. These fragments have petrographic properties that match the upper layer of the Tierra Blanca Joven (TBJ from the Ilopango eruption of ca. AD 260 [Hart and Steen-McIntyre 1983]). In a hand specimen, the upper layer (red earth) looks like an incipient soil developed in this material. Geologically speaking, the age of the ash puts a maximum limiting age for the beginning of construction at Cihuatán. She described in both samples sherds coarsely pumiceous. The fact that impurities were found in the samples indicates that the deposits, even if they are TBJ, were mixed with other materials, including possible cultural materials, and were brought in presumably as a base for the foundation of the structure. In August 1981 Dr. Steen-McIntyre examined five other samples that I had sent her in November She ran the samples through soil sieves of 1, ½, and ¼ mm mesh