Palenque: eternal city of the Maya
Sunday, 15 June 1952. Having spent four years clearing a secret passage inside Palenque's Temple of the Inscriptions, Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz gazed into a vaulted chamber. There, beneath a gigantic carved stone block, he would make a spectacular discovery: the intact burial of King Pakal, complete with jade jewelry and an exquisite burial mask.
Pakal was the most prominent among a long line of monarchs who held sway at Palenque from AD 300 to 800, deep in the mountains of southeastern Mexico. This 'queen of Maya cities' fell into ruin and was abandoned when Maya civilization suffered a mysterious collapse over a millennium ago.
Through the eyes of David Stuart and George Stuart, we travel with pioneer artists and archaeologists from the 18th century on as they rediscovered Palenque and attempted to document the city's graceful and ornate palaces, temples, bas-reliefs and hieroglyphic inscriptions.
Today Palenque, proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a place of new reverence and relevance for millions of modern Maya, New Age spiritualists, and all those fascinated by the history of the Maya. For them and for the host of visitors to Mexico, this is the perfect guide.
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accession Ajaw Ajen Yohl Mat Alberto Ruz Lhuillier ancestors ancient Maya archaeologist architecture Armendariz Baakal Blom buildings Calakmul carved Catherwood central century ceramic Chiapas Classic Maya Classic period Comalcalco construction Copan Cross Group death decades decorated dedicated deity depicted Dupaix dynasty Early Classic excavations figures Foliated Cross glyphs House A-D images important Inscriptions K'an Joy Chitam K'atun K'inich Ahkal Mo K'inich Janab Pakal K'inich K'an Joy K'inich Kan Bahlam kingdom Late Classic later Lord maize Maudslay Maya area Mesoamerican Mexico monuments Nahb Otolum Palace Tablet Palenque king Palenque Triad Palenque's Palenque's history panel perhaps piers plate platform political portraits pyramid Rafinesque record reign ritual royal ruins ruler rulers of Palenque Ruz Lhuillier sarcophagus Schele sculptures slab stairway Stephens stone structure stucco symbol Tabasco Temple XIX Temple XVII Temple XXI Teotihuacan three temples throne Tikal tomb Tonina Triad gods Usumacinta River Waldeck wall Yaxchilan