Three weeks ago, a team of archaeologists peeked inside a small hole hidden deep within the ruins of Palenque and in the process, became the first people in 1,500 years to see the inside of a lost Mayan tomb. So, what did they find?
The Classic Maya City of Palenque
Palenque is a set of spectacular Mayan ruins located in southern Mexico. They date from as far back as 100 BC. After the decline of the Mayan civilization, they were swallowed up by the jungle and lost for centuries.
Many years ago, a royal necropolis, or cemetery, sat within the city limits of Palenque. At some point, a step pyramid structure now known as Temple XX was built on top of the necropolis. In the process, the builders covered up a vaulted tomb. It is believed by some that this tomb belongs to Yohl Ik’nal, who ruled Palenque from 583-604 AD. However, others believe that it comes from a slightly earlier time period.
Recently, a team of archaeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History used a tiny video camera to peer into the tomb. They discovered that the room contains a sarcophagus, pottery dishes, and pieces of a funerary shroud made from jade and mother of pearl. They also discovered that the red-painted room contained remnants of an intriguing mural, depicting at least nine figures, painted in black.
Guerrilla Explorer’s Analysis
As many of you know, I will be releasing my first novel in the upcoming weeks. Afterwards, I’ll be conducting a multi-week expedition to Palenque and other Mayan ruins scattered throughout southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. The chance to study these wonderful monuments from up-close is a very exciting opportunity for me. I’m looking forward to visiting Temple XX and taking a closer look at this ancient tomb. Hopefully, it will yield a wealth of new information. And with any luck, it will allow us to shed light on many of the mysteries that continue to surround the ancient Mayan civilization.