Archeological site Cihuatán

photo by: elmerguevara – cc by-sa 4.0


The ancient city emerged after the so-called Mayan collapse, to become a regional capital between 900 and 1200 AD. A municipal report prepared by the municipality of Guazapa in 1859 appears as a first reference to Cihuatán, referring to it as the remains of “a large and populous city”, but it is up to the intervention of archaeologist Samuel Lothrop (1925-1926) that arises The foreground of the site.

In 1953, the State acquired 10.5 hectares of the area for its protection and, in 1994, another 61.3 hectares were acquired. Now, with a total of 71.8 hectares (102.7 manzanas), Cihuatán is the largest archaeological park in El Salvador, with an estimated extension of about three square kilometers.

The site has urban characteristics: it covers a hill that dominates strategically the wide valley formed by the rivers Acelhuate and Lempa (to 36 kilometers to the north of San Salvador); Its monumental center is at the top of the hill and can be divided into two parts: the Acropolis (also named East Ceremonial Center) and the ceremonial center (also called Ceremonial Center West). The monumental area covers approximately 28 hectares (40 manzanas) of extension.

The acropolis is a very large platform holding several buildings. In the mid-twentieth century, Stanley Boggs investigated a small platform (the O-4 structure) south of the acropolis, in which he found around a thousand pounds of ceramic fragments, including spiked censers and a figurine of a wheeled dog. Underneath this deposit he discovered the burial of a young woman, along with a dog and dozens of miniature cups.

On the other hand, the Poniente Ceremonial Center consists of a walled enclosure that includes a main pyramid (P-7 structure), two ball courts and several other constructions, including temples, and a building that has been speculated to serve as a palace. It has a large square that would have been the place for markets and festivals.

by: Secretaria de la cultura




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