Advertisement

Ancient Maya road unearthed in El Salvador

BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Archaeologists excavating a Mayan village in El Salvador buried by a volcano 1,400 years ago say they've found an ancient white road leading from the town.

University of Colorado at Boulder researchers say the road, known as a "sacbe," is about 6 feet across and made from white volcanic ash from a previous eruption that was packed down and shored up along its edges by residents living in the village known as Ceren in about 600 A.D.

Advertisement

CU-Boulder anthropology Professor Payson Sheets said in Yucatan Maya the word "sacbe" literally means "white way" and described elevated ancient roads typically paved with white lime plaster that sometimes connected temples, plazas and towns.

"Until our discovery, these roads were only known from the Yucatan area in Mexico and all were built with stone linings, which generally preserved well," Sheets said. "It took the unusual preservation at Ceren to tell us the Maya also made them without stone.

Sheets said evidence suggests the village was conducting a crop-harvesting ceremony when the volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago hit and buried the town.

"We know there was a celebration going on when the eruption hit," said Sheets, noting evidence of large quantities of food and drink being prepared.

Advertisement

"And we've found no evidence of anyone going back to their houses, gathering up valuables, and fleeing, because all the household doors were tied shut. We think people may have left the plaza and run south, possibly on the sacbe, because the danger was to the north."

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement