The life of ancient Mayans has been widely studied by archeologists for years, who piece together information about their daily life through the remains and ruins of the culture. The devastation of a volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago has led to more answers, thanks to the extremely well preserved state it was left in.
The village of Ceren in El Salvador was left frozen in time and has given researching a glimpse into what daily life would have been like centuries ago, in a society that is now long been lost to us.
IFLScience.com reported that the detail and perfectness of the preserved village is so good that even the tiniest things—like finger marks on ceramic—are still intact to this day.
It is believed that top researchers will be able to use this abandoned village to collect a lot of new evidence about Mayan culture, and answer questions about the society that archeologists have been asking for years.
By studying tools, artifacts, and even the types of buildings and where in the village certain community structures were placed, researchers can now tell exactly who was important to society, and what was valued most by the common folk.
According to one researching, professor Payson Sheets from the University of Colorado Boulder, evidence suggests that the Ceren village was fairly self-run, with villagers maintaining the community gathering places and working together to organize activities.
The villagers likely traded goods at local markets, but otherwise didn’t come in contact with the Mayan elites.
To date, most Mayan ruins have been of grandiose sites. Sheets calls the Ceren village significant because it is the first time archeologists have ben able to study the life of ordinary Mayans.
“This is the first clear window anyone has had on the daily activities and the quality of life of Maya commoners back then,” said Sheets.