Structure 4G1, Ciudad Vieja, El Salvador: A Sanctuary of Earth and Stone

Author(s): Jeb Card; William Fowler

Year: 2015


The archaeological site of Ciudad Vieja, El Salvador, represents the ruins of the Conquest-period town of San Salvador. Although founded as a Spanish conquest town with a small Spanish population, the inhabitants of San Salvador were mainly indigenous Mesoamericans including Mexican warriors and their families who traveled with their Spanish allies during and after the initial military conquest and transplanted members of colonized Nahua-speaking Pipil groups from western and central El Salvador. Previous investigation has revealed domestic and economic activities within the villa, but a new phase of mapping, remote sensing, and excavations conducted in 2013 and 2014 on the eastern edge of the site have revealed Structure 4G1. Preliminary results indicate that this structure may be the sanctuary of an open-air chapel used for baptisms and acts of worship for newly converted Indians who inhabited or visited the town of San Salvador. While similar "sanctuaries of earth and stone" are known from indigenous towns in central Mexico and Yucatan, this structure appears to be the only known example of indigenous religious architecture in a Spanish conquest town in Mesoamerica. The historical and archaeological evidence call into question how we view this "Spanish" colonial settlement.

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Cite this Record

Structure 4G1, Ciudad Vieja, El Salvador: A Sanctuary of Earth and Stone. William Fowler, Jeb Card. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397641)

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Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;