Monolith Perhaps Largest Found in Mexico

Updated: 10/14/2006


Archaeologists announced Friday that a monolith discovered earlier this month near Mexico City's main square is perhaps the largest ever unearthed in the city's center.

The monolith, found on Oct. 2, is rectangular and measures nearly 13 feet on its longest side. The largest monolith from the city's center until this latest discovery _ the circular Piedra del Sol, or Aztec Calendar, unearthed in 1790 _ has a diameter of 12 feet.

''At this time, the most important thing about this is its size,'' said the lead archaeologist on the excavation project, Alvaro Barrera.

The 24-ton Aztec Calendar stone, however, is nearly double the weight of the newcomer, which is estimated to be a mere 14 tons.

''It's tough to say which is the biggest, because the Piedra del Sol (Aztec Calendar) weighs more, but its circular radius is not as long as this monolith's largest side,'' said Angel Romas, information director of the Templo Mayor Museum, which is collaborating with the archaeological team.

Barrera noted that the full significance of the discovery will not become clear until the excavation is complete, in about a month. ''We've excavated the top of the monolith but we still don't know what's beneath it,'' he said.

The archaeological team thus far has removed 480 cubic feet of earth from the area around the top of the monolith. The group estimates that in order to be able to completely view the monolith, they need to remove another 13.5 cubic meters.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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