Serpents with their body covered with feathers, carved in bas-relief, and the great serpents’ heads that decorate the balustrade at Quetzalcoatl Temple, in Teotihuacan, will be center of attention of visitors again at the end of 2009, when, after 6 years of being closed due to restoration and conservation work, it will be open again.


Specialists of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) are working on the last stage of the preservation labor season, adapting the stands located in front of the main façade, so visitors can admire again all its splendor.

Rogelio Rivero Chong, head of the Feathered Serpent Temple Restoration Project, informed that this month started the last stage of work that began in 2003, financed by INAH. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund provided resources to finish the project in 2010.

The stands adaptation “has the aim of people to descend it and admire the construction and reliefs as long as they want to”.

The restorer part of INAH National Coordination of Cultural Heritage Conservation (CNCPC) commented that an inform is being prepared with the description of interventions conducted during 6 years of research and specific conservation, that is to be published in 2010. A permanent maintenance manual for the Quetzalcoatl Temple is to be ready as well.

Other element where INAH experts are working is monitoring plaster set 3 years ago to conserve decorative elements of the structure, protecting them from humidity damage.

Almost all year long, dew raises the humidity level in a 60 per cent between 5:00 and 6:00 hours. This hydrates salts, which crystallization breaks stone pores.

To revert this situation, in 2003 the tableaux were plastered with a mixture of tezontle, marble and lime that helps offset the process that converts stone into sand. Salts solidify in the paste and not in the stone.

Plaster and its monitoring have reduced damage in 95 per cent, and specific maintenance includes application and change of the paste, which makes this a continuous process part of a medium and long term plan.

Monitoring reveals that after 3 years, most of the places where paste was set present no damage. “We corroborated that damage mechanisms affecting material have been controlled. When they activate again, they will affect the paste and it will be changed”.

Other theme studied is the collocation of a light, reversible and folding roof that can protect architectonic elements during the night and dawn from dew and relative humidity.

The features of this roof were raised by Rivero Chong during the first “Workshop of Guidelines to Implement Architectonic Covers in Archaeological Contexts”, organized by INAH. He mentioned that specialized architects and engineers will work in the project.

Attention of Quetzalcoatl Temple began in 2003; in 2006 World Monuments Fund financed it and after an exhaustive revision by the INAH Archaeology Council, work was retaken in 2009.

Archaeologists work in prospecting and excavation labor to determine how to channel water that accumulates at La Ciudadela, where the temple is found. Once the drain system is concluded, restorers will consider corrective and preventive restoration over, concluded Rivero Chong.