They unravel treasures from Palenque; embark on ambitious work season

INAH researchers have undertaken an ambitious season of work in the archaeological zone of Palenque, in Chiapaswhich will include excavation and restoration work in spaces such as the Las Cruces Group, in houses A, B, on the south side of El Palacio, in the Temple of the Skull and in Group IV, which could have been occupied by the founding families of the site.

In Group IV, the architectural exploration of the entire complex and the stabilization of its buildings will be carried out, (occupied by) one of the important groups close to Pakal, which, apparently, planned the city”, he explained to Excelsior Keiko María Teranishi, head of the archaeological zone of Palenque.

In said intervention, he said, “findings will be found that will clarify many questions about who shared that domestic unit, what their task was, their ritual forms and what they shared with the public space of Palenque,” he added.

The works, which are carried out within the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza) and the construction of Visitor Service Centers and the Mayan Train, will coincide with an extensive field season.

We are making the intervention of the work coincide with the investigation and, thus, complete the panorama of investigation of these places”, detailed the owner of the site.

Let us remember that the Grupo de la Cruz is a very particular place of sacred spaces dedicated to the patron gods of Palenque. So, the knowledge and exploration of this building will be decisive in the new interpretations”, he specified.

Will they manage land with individuals to expand the area?, the owner was questioned. “In the case of Palenque, we believe that the 17,772 hectares are large enough, in terms of heritage protection, that they are consistent with the surface surveys carried out in 1970 and 1980, and that defined these buffer areas.”

And he added: “There is only one rectification of eight meters with the Palenque National Parksince we share polygonal with protected natural areas”.

Teranishi also spoke about the recent research surrounding the Maize God sculpture.

The stuccoed head, more than 1,300 years old, was located in the pools (of the site), it evoked a corn that emerges from the leaves when it is in full harvest and it is the sculpture of a young man with a deformation Prominent skull that lacks animal or supernatural features.

Said piece, he added, served to close an architectural space with abundant plant elements, animal bones, shells, crabs and 120 obsidian knives, “which is showing us that obsidian is being used beyond utilitarian domestic use, that is, accompanying totally ritual contexts”.

How many similar heads have been found in Palenque? “About 28 heads, but others are of supernatural beings, gods and lineage characters, so we believe that each modeling represents a specific temporal world that is related to the place of the deposit.”

What have they determined about the hydraulic system located under Pakal’s burial chamber?

The works, carried out by the archaeologist Arnoldo González, speak of that relationship between K’inich Janaab’ Pakal and the waters of the underworld that lie under the Temple of the Inscriptions”.

In essence, what this system reflects is Palenque’s cosmogonic and ideological relationship with its rulers’ obsession with a ritual landscape.

Said underground hydraulic system not only gives us a glimpse of this ideological resource, but also great skill in terms of hydraulic engineering”, since they had to identify the usable body of water and their previous knowledge to build the tomb, which shows that the people of Palenque created conditions, they manipulated the landscape, the topography and diverted the canals to create a ritual landscape.

Finally, he referred to the findings in Temple XIX, where they recently located hundreds of green pieces, 70 tesserae and masks, by researcher Martha Cuevas; and she recognized that there are still several questions surrounding Pakal, such as knowing his public discourse, his form of governance, successions, kinship, as well as the discourse of the domestic ritual and the people who lived in the periphery.


One of the recent discoveries at the site, explained the Palenque official, was the location of the first lithic workshop in the area.

It is located in the northeast part (of the site) and it is an interesting place, because it exposes a construction modification and the diversion of a stream to create an interesting platform”.

In addition, in this area, he said, the remains of a not so old woman were detected, with an atypical cranial deformation, inside a cist.

It has an atypical or unusual filing of the teeth, with a double inlay of green stones and a funerary deposit that, in some way, shows us that it is a prominent character in that group that gave rise to the first stone workshop”, he commented.

So far, the excavations have revealed two thousand fragments of primary and secondary roughing, but what is less common is that it is a workshop that works obsidian, considered a rare commodity in the area, so it is believed that it belonged to a group specialized craftsmen.


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They unravel treasures from Palenque; embark on ambitious work season