23:33 GMT28 February 2021
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    The item was unearthed in the municipality of Motul. According to a statement released by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), such masks were placed around stairways with pyramidal bases.

    An international group of scientists has reburied a human-size ancient Mayan mask discovered at an archaeological site in Yucatan state. According to INAH, such stucco items used to represent "the faces of individuals with particular features that can be associated with deities, or with characters of prominent social status". The mask is dated to the Late Pre-Classical era of Mayan civilisation, which means it was made sometime between 300 BC and 250 AD.

    ​It was originally discovered in 2017, but later archaeologists decided to rebury it in order to preserve the item until it could be safely dug out and studied. In summer of 2018, the mask and the adjacent area around it were excavated. Scientists performed archaeometric studies as well as conservation and restoration treatment.

    "These treatments consisted of cleaning, consolidating and reinforcing its supports, as well as replacement of structural gaps to ensure its original position. In 2019, the physical and chemical stabilization of the mask and the adjacent stairway was completed, as well as the cleaning of a good percentage of the surface", reads a statement posted on the website of National Institute of Anthropology and History.

    After several years of work, the archaeologists decided to rebury the structure in order to guarantee its preservation.

    archaeology, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, Maya
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