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One day in late March we were eating lunch at "El Rancho de Huicho", which is what we call the al fresco dining area of Temple XIX. Our crew of men from Naranjo had kept working, and suddenly they became excited over something they had found.
It turned out to be a museum-quality modeled stucco head of the Sun God attached to a stuccoed limestone bar or tenon.
This was encountered while removing the roof fall from above the carved stone bench and the fractured limestone tablet. The statue was found in good condition just below large roof stones that had inverted as they fell. Apparently the stucco head of the Sun God was once part of a niche arrangement, or a roof comb, constructed on top of the roof.
front view, extreme zoom
side view, extreme zoom
The statue was carefully excavated under the direction of conservation specialist Alfonso Cruz. Gesso bandages were applied to deteriorated portions of stucco on the tenon, and the statue was lifted and placed in a specially made foam-lined container.
The statue was then carried to the on-site conservation workshop where it was further stabilized and repaired by the conservation teem. At present, this statue is in the final stages of restoration.
After removing a large ceiling vault capstone from the floor, just above the south edge of Special deposit 99-3, an opening about a half a meter square was noted in the floor. A floor stone that had originally covered the opening was missing, and it had apparently been left open intentionally.
This opening is centered in front of the carved stone bench, and two steps and a third partially buried step lead down below the floor and to the south, into a small, partially vaulted chamber approximately 1.3 m square.
At the base of this chamber, leading to the east and west, are two small "drains" approximately .3 m wide and .25 m deep. These "drains" are constructed of at least three courses of stone on each side and are capped with limestone lahas. The western "drain" extends to the west approximately 4 m and either turns or stops.
The southern "drain" extends to the south at least 6 m, which was beyond the range of our most powerful flashlight. The floor of the chamber and the "drains" are covered to an unknown depth in silt and dark organic sediment.
The chamber opening, the floor of the chamber, and the openings of the "drains" were covered in plastic to prevent the sediment from drying and to protect the deposit from air born contaminants. This feature will be excavated, sampled, and documented at a later date.
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