It's sad to see how many lives have been ruined by the earthquake-precipitated accident. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be removed from a place that is your home, and lose your business to boot. However, the situation did make me recall several archaeological examples of large-scale abandonment. Probably the best known example is Pompeii, buried under a thick layer of ash from an AD 79 volcanic eruption. A similar example from Ceren, El Salvador, reveals the wealth of information that can be gleaned from rapid abandonment and preservation due to volcanic eruption. The Makah village of Ozette in northwest Washington, buried under a mudslide in about 1700, was also well-preserved and and a fruitful project for investigating continuities in Makah cultural identity.
|Plaza area at Aguateca|
Inomata, Takeshi and Laura R. Stiver. 1998. Floor Assemblages from Burned Structures at Aguateca, Guatemala: A Study of Classic Maya Households. Journal of Field Archaeology 25(4):431-452.
McKee, Brian R. 2002. Household archaeology and cultural formation processes: Examples from the Ceren site, El Salvador. In The Archaeology of Household Activities, Ed. Penelope M. Allison, 30-42. London: Routledge.
Wessen, Gary. 1990. Prehistory of the Ocean Coast of Washington. In Handbook of American Indians, vol. 7: Northwest Coast, ed. Wayne Suttles, 412-421. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.