Mexican Statue Returned

Denver Police Department officers look on as a forklift carries a box containing a part of "Monument 9," an Olmec civilization statue that is believed to represent an "earth monster," during a repatriation ceremony at Denver International Airport Friday, May 19, 2023, in Denver. Officials from Mexico were on hand for the ceremony and were scheduled to return by military plane with the statue to Mexico late Friday. Officials believe that the monument, which is from the central Mexican state of Morelos, was created sometime between 800-400 B.C. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico announced Friday that a huge 2,500-year-old Olmec stone sculpture has been returned from the United States.

The almost six-foot-tall (two-meter) “Monster of the Earth” sculpture appears to represent the gaping maw of a monster that is big enough to swallow people, and may represent a symbolic entrance to the underworld.

Experts say the sculpture is important because of the insights it provides on the cosmological vision of the Olmecs, considered a founding culture of Meso-America.

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said the sculpture was handed over at the Mexican consulate in Denver, Colorado, on Friday.

Experts believe the sculpture was taken clandestinely in the 1960s from Chalcatzingo, a lesser-known ruin site south of Mexico City.

“It was like an open wound, not having this artifact,” Ebrard said.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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