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After excavating the interior jamb of Structure XIX's central support pier to a depth of approximately 80 centimeters, we encountered fragments of modeled, painted stucco in the rubble just to the east of the pier.

Some of these fragments were the remains of a hieroglyphic text, and others were fragments of design elements and flat background pieces.

These modeled stucco fragments were painted red, blue, and tan; and it was soon apparent that they had fallen from the interior jamb of the support pier.

At a depth of 1.2 meters below the surface, we began to uncover in situ  remains of the stucco panel which were adhered to the interior jamb of the support pier.

The panel depicts an apparently young man, standing in profile, right leg to the front, as if the figure were walking or perhaps dancing.

The head and hair of this individual were not in situ  but were found in good condition in the rubble.

As the panel was revealed by excavation, a restoration specialist protected the paint.

Smaller fragments that were likely to fall out because of vibration were bound in place with acid-free paper.

It was decided to remove the panel to the safety of the restoration laboratory, both to facilitate restoration and to protect it from vandals and erosion.

The extraction process began by first protecting and consolidating the entire surface of the panel with a layer of rice paper followed by a second layer of cheese cloth.

A sheet of plywood, cut to fit, was then placed approximately 4 centimeters in front of the panel and secured in place with wooden braces. Polyurethane foam was then injected between the plywood and the protected face of the panel to provide a rigid and form-fitting support.

Thin, pointed steel rods were then used to remove an approximately 1 centimeter thick layer of soil that had washed in over the centuries, and settled between the backside of the panel and the stone face of the support pier. When the panel was freed from the support pier, it was removed from the pier in a single motion and brought to rest face down on the floor of the structure.

The removal process was successful, even though a few fragments of the base of the panel remained adhered to the support pier. These fragments were removed separately, wrapped in damp cotton, and sealed in plastic bags. These pieces, along with the rest of the stucco panel, were then transported to the laboratory for restoration.

Click here for restoration drawing