Experts are in the process of assessing the giant monolith dedicated to the Aztec god Tlaloc, in preparation for restoration.
The 8th-century stone carving, discovered in 1964 in the state of Mexico by construction workers, has deteriorated during the subsequent 50 years.
The statue, which is estimated to weigh 152 tonnes and stands seven meters tall, has spent the last 50 years on the Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, in front of the National Anthropology Museum.
Dedicated to the god of rain, the monolith was moved to its current location from a stream bed near the town of San Miguel Coatlinchan on a purpose-built trailer. Record-breaking torrential rainfall, believed by some to be the idols’s curse for being moved, fell the day it was moved to Mexico City, where it was welcomed by 25,000 onlookers in the Zócalo.
Various Mexican experts have been called upon to help with the restoration and preservation project, which will entail a close inspection to identify the causes and effects of the deterioration. The findings will be used to develop a long-term plan for its maintenance.
The statue is the largest existing monolith in the Americas. As well as an image of the god Tlaloc, it bears agricultural images on its side and is believed to have been used by the Aztecs to call on the god of rain.
Work is being undertaken by experts from the Center for Applied Science and Technological Development, the Geology Institute and the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Source: EFE (en)