Back To El Salvador

Archaeology during a civil war is dangerous, but as the bloody conflict in El Salvador drags on, a team has resumed work on a prehistonc site 20 miles north of the capital, San Salvador. The team led by Payson Sheets, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder, spent the summer working on what he calls an “archaeological goldmine,” the best preserved domestic village in SQuth America. “I’ve never seen a site like that,” he says. “It’s extraordinary.” The village was buried by five meters of volcanic ash 1,400 years ago. Sheets and his team, which began excavating the site in 1978, had to abandon their work in 1980. “We would hear machine gunfire pretty regularly at night,” recalls Sheets, who pulled his team out after it came across the victims of a political assassination along the highway. But the archaeological treasure was too hard to...

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