GEORGE HOLTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE HOLTON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
This is the Aztec Calendar, perhaps the most famous symbol of Mexico, besides its flag. The original object is a 12 foot, massive stone slab, carved in the middle of the 15th century. Many renditions of it exist and have existed through the years and throughout Mexico. Historically, the Aztec name for the huge basaltic monolith is Cuauhxicalli Eagle Bowl, but it is universally known as the Aztec Calendar or Sun Stone. It was during the reign of the 6th Aztec monarch in 1479 that this stone was carved and dedicated to the principal Aztec deity: the sun. The stone has both mythological and astronomical significance. It weighs almost 25 tons, has a diameter of just under 12 feet, and a thickness of 3 feet. On December 17th, 1760 the stone was discovered, buried in the "Zocalo" (the main square) of Mexico City. The viceroy of New Spain at the time was don Joaquin de Monserrat, Marquis of Cruillas. Afterwards it was embedded in the wall of the Western tower of the metropolitan Cathedral, where it remained until 1885. At that time it was transferred to the national Museum of Archaeology and History by order of the then President of the Republic, General Porfirio Diaz.
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