BREAKING: Underground Tunnels Found Beneath Pakal Tomb in Maya Site of Palenque

BREAKING: Underground Tunnels Found Beneath Pakal Tomb in Maya Site of Palenque

Archaeologists at the world-renowned Maya site of Palenque in Mexico have made a surprising discovery beneath the Temple of Inscriptions, the impressive funerary monument built for Maya ruler Pakal – underground water tunnels that appears to have been created as a symbolic path to guide Pakal to the afterlife.

Archaeologist Arnoldo González Cruz, project manager at Palenque, announced at a press conference that the finding consists of nine channels of about 17 meters in length through which water circulates. The channel is fed by a spring and “reveals complex hydraulic engineering”.

The tunnel was discoverd with sonar and explored with robots. (INAH)

Associated Press reports that Gonzalez believes the tomb and pyramid were intentionally built on top of the spring between 683 and 702 AD, and that the tunnels were created to lead water under the funeral chamber and guide Pakal’s spirit to the underworld. Evidence comes from carvings on a pair of stone ear adornments, which say a god "will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging (them) into the water so they will be received there."

The Temple of Inscriptions, Palenque, Mexico ( Daniel Mannerich / Flickr )

El Comercio reports that the underground channels were discovered following the use of ground penetrating radar in the Temple of Inscriptions. The program coordinator of Archaeology from the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico, Pedro Sánchez Nava, said that one of the studies revealed underground structures which were worthy of further investigation.

"We decided to study this data and we discovered that it was complex hydraulic channels carved directly into the bedrock, just below the funeral chamber of Pakal, " said Sanchez [via El Comercio].

Sculpture of King K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, or “Pakal the Great”. National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City. Wikimedia Commons

The great Maya city of Palenque is hidden deep in the jungles of Mexico. Known for its stunning architecture, sprawling temples, artwork and treasures, it has been luring explorers, tomb raiders and archaeologists here for centuries. The Temple of the Inscriptions ranks among the most famous monuments of the Maya world and is the largest Mesoamerican stepped pyramid structure. The Temple was specifically built as the funerary monument for K'inich Janaab' Pakal, ruler of Palenque in the 7th century A.D. whose reign over the area lasted almost 70 years. Construction of this monument was commissioned by Pakal himself in the last decade of his life, and was completed by his son and successor K'inich Kan B'alam II a short time after 683 AD.

The site consists of a "temple" structure that sits atop an eight-stepped pyramid for a total of nine levels. On top of the pyramid sits the temple which is comprised of two passageways divided by a series of pillars, and covered by a vaulted roof. Both the temple and the pyramid had a thick layer of stucco on it and were painted red, as was common for many Maya buildings.

The Maya site of Palenque, Mexico ( Dennis Jarvis / Flickr )

The finding of Pakal’s sarcophagus in the 20th century stunned the world, and has been surrounded in controversy ever since. The secret opening to his tomb was discovered by Mexican archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier in 1948 and it took another four years to clear the rubble from the stairway leading down to Pakal’s tomb. His skeletal remains were still lying in his coffin, wearing a jade mask and bead necklaces. The tomb itself is remarkable for its large, elaborately carved sarcophagus, and stucco sculpture decorating the walls, which depict the ruler's transition to divinity and figures from Maya mythology.

The much-discussed symbolism of the sarcophagus lid is commonly believed to depict Pakal in the guise of one of the Maize Gods emerging from the underworld with the Tree of Life pattern in the background. However, not everyone agrees with this interpretation. A more alternative hypothesis is that Pakal is depicted operating a type of machinery or vehicle. When turned on its side, Pakal appears to be operating a complex series of controls.

The magnificent sarcophagus lid of Pakal. Asaf Braverman / Flickr

The newly-discovered underground water channels continue to be excavated and it is hoped that further discoveries may shed more light on the life and death of this powerful ruler.


Mexico finds water tunnels under Pakal tomb in Palenque

In this March 10, 2008 file photo, journalists appear silhouetted against a Mayan temple, before covering the meeting of 'Indigenous People to Heal Our Mother Earth'' in Palenque, Mexico. Archaeologists at Palenque have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of Mayan ruler Pakal. Archaeologists believe the tunnels were built to give Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini, File)

Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez says researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between 683 and 702 AD. The tunnels led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld.

Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship.

But Gonzalez said Monday that carvings on a pair of stone ear plugs found in the grave say a god "will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging (them) into the water so they will be received there."

Pakal, in other words, didn't fly off into space he went down the drain. "There is nothing to do with spaceships," Gonzalez said.

The tunnel, which connects to another, is made of stone and is about two feet (60 centimeters) wide and tall.

The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.

"In both cases there was a water current present," said Sanchez Nava. "There is this allegorical meaning for water . where the cycle of life begins and ends."

The dig began in 2012, when researchers become concerned about underground anomalies detected with geo-radar under the area in front of the pyramid's steps.

Fearing a hole or geological fault that could cause the pyramid to settle or collapse, they dug at the spot—and uncovered three layers of carefully fitted stone covering the top of the tunnel.

Gonzalez said the same type of three-layered stone covering has been found in the floor of Pakal's tomb, within the pyramid.

Gonzalez said he believes there is no shaft or connection between the tomb and the tunnel, but adds the conduit hasn't been fully explored yet because it is too small to crawl through.

Researchers had to send a robot with a camera down to view much of the underground horizontal shaft.

Author Erich von Daniken suggested in his 1968 book "Chariots of the Gods?" that Pakal's position in the engraving on the stone sarcophagus lid resembled the position of astronauts, and he appeared to be seated in a contraption with flames coming out of it and controls.

Experts say that the "flames" are in fact depictions of the Maya's "World Tree" or "Tree of Life," whose roots were believed to reach into the underworld.


Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said on Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez said researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between AD 683 and 702. The tunnel led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal’s spirit a path to the underworld.

Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship.

But Mr. Gonzalez said carvings on a pair of stone ear plugs found in the grave say a god “will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging [them] into the water so they will be received there.”

Pakal, in other words, didn’t fly off into space he went down the drain. “There is nothing to do with spaceships,” Mr. Gonzalez said.

The tunnel, which connects to another, is made of stone and is about two feet (60 cm) wide and tall.

The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples, such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.

“In both cases there was a water current present,” said Mr. Sanchez Nava. “There is this allegorical meaning for water . where the cycle of life begins and ends.”

The dig began in 2012, when researchers become concerned about underground anomalies detected with geo-radar under the area in front of the pyramid’s steps.

Layered stone covering

Fearing a hole or geological fault that could cause the pyramid to settle or collapse, they dug at the spot and uncovered three layers of carefully fitted stone covering the top of the tunnel.

Mr. Gonzalez said the same type of three-layered stone covering has been found in the floor of Pakal’s tomb, within the pyramid. Researchers had to send a robot with a camera down to view much of the underground horizontal shaft.

Francisco Estrada-Belli, an assistant professor of archaeology at Boston University who was not involved in the dig, wrote, “I believe that building a tomb over a canal certainly does fit with the belief that water and water bodies were entrances to the underworld.”

“Several cases of temples [and the associated tombs] are known to be built over natural caves that may or may not have held water,” Prof. Estrada-Belli wrote.

Author Erich von Daniken suggested in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods? that Pakal’s stance in the engraving on the stone sarcophagus lid resembled the position of astronauts and that he appeared to be seated in a contraption with flames coming out of it. — AP


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The Temple of Inscriptions (pictured) is one of the largest pyramids at the Mayan city of Palenque. Although it was rediscovered around 200 years ago, it is still revealing its secrets. Pakal's tomb was only discovered beneath the great pyramid in the 1950s

The water tunnel was found at the ancient Mayan city of Palenque in southern Mexico (shown on map)

Archaeologists began excavating in front of the steps (pictured) leading up the pyramid to the Temple of Inscriptions after ground penetrating radar revealed anomalies under the ground that they feared threatened the structure. Instead they discovered the stone tunnel, carefully covered with three layers of stone.

Instead they think Pakal may have been an alien astronaut who ruled the Mayan. Carvings found on his sargophogus have led to theories that it shows him sitting in a space rocket.

However, Dr Gonzalez said the discovery of the water ways suggest that the Mayan actually believed their ruler's spirit would be washed down the drain rather than taken back into space.

The carving on the lid to Pakal's sarcophagus (illustrated) led some to believe he had been an 'alien astronaut' who led the Maya

He said: 'There is nothing to do with spaceships.'

The stone tunnel runs directly under Pakel's tomb, which is around 25 feet beneath the surface. It measures around two feet across and two feet tall.

Pedro Sanchez Nava, director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, said it appears water may have been important in relation to death among many pre-Hispanic cultures.

A similar water tunnel was discovered at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.

He said: 'In both cases there was a water current present. There is this allegorical meaning for water - where the cycle of life begins and ends.'

The tunnel was uncovered beneath the Temple of Inscriptions at Palenque in an excavation that began in 2012.

Researchers had discovered underground anomalies in front of the pyramids steps with ground penetrating radar and feared a sinkhole or geological fault may be opening up to threaten the pyramid.

When they dug at the spot they uncovered three layers of careful fitted stone covering the top of the tunnel.

The same type of three-layered stone covering has been found in the floor of Pakal's tomb, within the pyramid.

The researcher say they have not yet discovered any shaft connecting the tomb to the tunnel but have yet to explore it properly.

The excavation (pictured) was started in 2012 but archaeologists have revealed what may be a system of tunnels that carried water beneath the temple, reinforcing ideas that water played a key role in Mayan religion

The Temple of Inscriptions (pictured) was only rediscovered around 200 years ago in the jungle of southern Mexico. It is the largest structure at the ancient city of Palenque

They are using robots fitted with cameras to inch along the underground tunnel.

Dr Francisco Estrada-Belli, an archaeologist at Boston University who was not involved in the dig, said: 'I believe that building a tomb over a canal certainly does fit with the belief that water and water bodies were entrances to the underworld.

'Several cases of temples (and the associated tombs) are known to be built over natural caves that may or may not have held water.'

WHAT CAUSED THE COLLAPSE OF THE MAYAN CIVILISATION

For hundreds of years the Mayans dominated large parts of the Americas until, mysteriously in the 8th and 9th century AD, a large chunk of the Mayan civilisation collapsed.

The reason for this collapse has been hotly debated, but now scientists say they might have an answer - an intense drought that lasted a century.

Studies of sediments in the Great Blue Hole in Belize suggest a lack of rains caused the disintegration of the Mayan civilisation, and a second dry spell forced them to relocate elsewhere.

The theory that a drought led to a decline of the Mayan Classic Period is not entirely new, but the new study co-authored by Dr André Droxler from Rice University in Texas provides fresh evidence for the claims.

Dozens of theories have attempted to explain the Classic Maya Collapse, from epidemic diseases to foreign invasion.

With his team Dr Droxler found that from 800 to 1000 AD, no more than two tropical cyclones occurred every two decades, when usually there were up to six.

This suggests major droughts occurred in these years, possibly leading to famines and unrest among the Mayan people.

And they also found that a second drought hit from 1000 to 1100 AD, corresponding to the time that the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá collapsed.

Researchers say a climate reversal and drying trend between 660 and 1000 AD triggered political competition, increased warfare, overall sociopolitical instability, and finally, political collapse - known as the Classic Maya Collapse.

This was followed by an extended drought between AD 1020 and 1100 that likely corresponded with crop failures, death, famine, migration and, ultimately, the collapse of the Maya population.


Water Tunnel Discovered Under Mayan Temple Refutes Ancient Astronaut Theory

MEXICO CITY (CBS/AP) — Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez says researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between 683 and 702 AD. The tunnels led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal’s spirit a path to the underworld.

Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship.

But Gonzalez said Monday that carvings on a pair of stone ear plugs found in the grave say a god “will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging (them) into the water so they will be received there.”

Pakal, in other words, didn’t fly off into space he went down the drain. “There is nothing to do with spaceships,” Gonzalez said.

Carvings on the lid of the sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried. (Wiki)

The tunnel, which connects to another, is made of stone and is about two feet (60 centimeters) wide and tall.

The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.

“In both cases there was a water current present,” said Sanchez Nava. “There is this allegorical meaning for water … where the cycle of life begins and ends.”

The dig began in 2012, when researchers become concerned about underground anomalies detected with geo-radar under the area in front of the pyramid’s steps.

Fearing a hole or geological fault that could cause the pyramid to settle or collapse, they dug at the spot — and uncovered three layers of carefully fitted stone covering the top of the tunnel.

Gonzalez said the same type of three-layered stone covering has been found in the floor of Pakal’s tomb, within the pyramid.

Gonzalez said he believes there is no shaft or connection between the tomb and the tunnel, but adds the conduit hasn’t been fully explored yet because it is too small to crawl through.

Researchers had to send a robot with a camera down to view much of the underground horizontal shaft.

Author Erich von Daniken suggested in his 1968 book “Chariots of the Gods?” that Pakal’s position in the engraving on the stone sarcophagus lid resembled the position of astronauts, and he appeared to be seated in a contraption with flames coming out of it and controls.

Experts say that the “flames” are in fact depictions of the Maya’s “World Tree” or “Tree of Life,” whose roots were believed to reach into the underworld.

© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


BREAKING: Underground Tunnels Found Beneath Pakal Tomb in Maya Site of Palenque - History

Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez says researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between 683 and 702 AD. The tunnels led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld.

Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship.

But Gonzalez said Monday that carvings on a pair of stone ear plugs found in the grave say a god "will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging (them) into the water so they will be received there."

Pakal, in other words, didn't fly off into space he went down the drain. "There is nothing to do with spaceships," Gonzalez said.
The tunnel, which connects to another, is made of stone and is about two feet (60 centimeters) wide and tall.

The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.

"In both cases there was a water current present," said Sanchez Nava. "There is this allegorical meaning for water . where the cycle of life begins and ends."

The dig began in 2012, when researchers become concerned about underground anomalies detected with geo-radar under the area in front of the pyramid's steps.

Fearing a hole or geological fault that could cause the pyramid to settle or collapse, they dug at the spot—and uncovered three layers of carefully fitted stone covering the top of the tunnel.

Gonzalez said the same type of three-layered stone covering has been found in the floor of Pakal's tomb, within the pyramid.

Gonzalez said he believes there is no shaft or connection between the tomb and the tunnel, but adds the conduit hasn't been fully explored yet because it is too small to crawl through.

Researchers had to send a robot with a camera down to view much of the underground horizontal shaft.

Author Erich von Daniken suggested in his 1968 book "Chariots of the Gods?" that Pakal's position in the engraving on the stone sarcophagus lid resembled the position of astronauts, and he appeared to be seated in a contraption with flames coming out of it and controls.

Experts say that the "flames" are in fact depictions of the Maya's "World Tree" or "Tree of Life," whose roots were believed to reach into the underworld.


Mexico finds water tunnel under Pakal tomb in Palenque

MEXICO CITY (AP) " Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez said researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between AD 683 and 702. The tunnel led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld.

Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship.

But Gonzalez said carvings on a pair of stone ear plugs found in the grave say a god "will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging (them) into the water so they will be received there."

Pakal, in other words, didn't fly off into space he went down the drain. "There is nothing to do with spaceships," Gonzalez said.

The tunnel, which connects to another, is made of stone and is about two feet (60 centimeters) wide and tall.

The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples, such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.

"In both cases there was a water current present," said Sanchez Nava. "There is this allegorical meaning for water . where the cycle of life begins and ends."

The dig began in 2012, when researchers become concerned about underground anomalies detected with geo-radar under the area in front of the pyramid's steps.

Fearing a hole or geological fault that could cause the pyramid to settle or collapse, they dug at the spot " and uncovered three layers of carefully fitted stone covering the top of the tunnel.

Gonzalez said the same type of three-layered stone covering has been found in the floor of Pakal's tomb, within the pyramid.

He said there appears to be no shaft or connection between the tomb and the tunnel, but adds the conduit hasn't been fully explored yet because it is too small to crawl through.

Researchers had to send a robot with a camera down to view much of the underground horizontal shaft.

Francisco Estrada-Belli, an assistant professor of archaeology at Boston University who was not involved in the dig, wrote, "I believe that building a tomb over a canal certainly does fit with the belief that water and water bodies were entrances to the underworld."

"Several cases of temples (and the associated tombs) are known to be built over natural caves that may or may not have held water," Estrada-Belli wrote.

Author Erich von Daniken suggested in his 1968 book "Chariots of the Gods?" that Pakal's stance in the engraving on the stone sarcophagus lid resembled the position of astronauts and that he appeared to be seated in a contraption with flames coming out of it and controls.

Experts say that the "flames" are in fact depictions of the Maya's "World Tree" or "Tree of Life," whose roots were believed to reach into the underworld.


BREAKING: Underground Tunnels Found Beneath Pakal Tomb in Maya Site of Palenque - History

News Around the Republic of Mexico

The Temple of the Inscriptions houses Pakal's tomb. The tunnel led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld.

Mexico City - Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez said researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between AD 683 and 702. The tunnel led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld.


Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship.

But Gonzalez said carvings on a pair of stone ear plugs found in the grave say a god "will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging (them) into the water so they will be received there." Pakal, in other words, didn't fly off into space he went down the drain. "There is nothing to do with spaceships," Gonzalez said.

The tunnel, which connects to another, is made of stone and is about two feet (60 centimeters) wide and tall.

The director of archaeology for the National Institute of Anthropology and History, Pedro Sanchez Nava, said the theory makes sense in light of other pre-Hispanic peoples, such as those who lived at Teotihuacan, near Mexico City, where another water tunnel was found.

"In both cases there was a water current present," said Sanchez Nava. "There is this allegorical meaning for water . where the cycle of life begins and ends."

The dig began in 2012, when researchers become concerned about underground anomalies detected with geo-radar under the area in front of the pyramid's steps.

Fearing a hole or geological fault that could cause the pyramid to settle or collapse, they dug at the spot - and uncovered three layers of carefully fitted stone covering the top of the tunnel.

Gonzalez said the same type of three-layered stone covering has been found in the floor of Pakal's tomb, within the pyramid.

He said there appears to be no shaft or connection between the tomb and the tunnel, but adds the conduit hasn't been fully explored yet because it is too small to crawl through. Researchers had to send a robot with a camera down to view much of the underground horizontal shaft.

Francisco Estrada-Belli, an assistant professor of archaeology at Boston University who was not involved in the dig, wrote, "I believe that building a tomb over a canal certainly does fit with the belief that water and water bodies were entrances to the underworld."

"Several cases of temples (and the associated tombs) are known to be built over natural caves that may or may not have held water," Estrada-Belli wrote.

Author Erich von Daniken suggested in his 1968 book Chariots of the Gods? that Pakal's stance in the engraving on the sarcophagus lid resembled the position of astronauts and that he appeared to be seated in a contraption with flames coming out of it and controls.

Experts say that the "flames" are in fact depictions of the Maya's "World Tree" or "Tree of Life," whose roots were believed to reach into the underworld.


Clyde

I visited this WHS in December 2015. I would definitely place Palenque as one of the best examples of Mayan cities in Mexico and I'd recommend spending a night there to be able to visit at sunrise. The pyramid like structures are similar to Tikal in a way although I think Calakmul is more comparable to Tikal on the whole. No climbing is allowed on the main structures of Palenque but I think it's a plus side as the best way to appreciate these structures is mainly from the opposite minor structures. During my visit the majority of tourists were Mexican as the coaches and tours for foreigners arrive towards 11am from Guatemala or in the afternoon from Oaxaca. If your priority is photography head straight to the top entrance as early as possible and not later than 07:30 to beat the never-ending vendors, mostly children. The main plaza, like Chichen Itza, is only a few steps away so it's worthwhile heading straight beneath the astronomical tower for the best views. The top entrance reminded me of the negative aspect of Angkor Wat . children trying to sell the same postcards or cheap souvenirs, official and fake tour guides, etc. Parking spaces were non-existent already at 07:30 and don't fall for the car-wash or 'watching service' scam offered to park your car or to look after your car. Just park for free 50-100 metres downhill on the side of the road if only to have easier access to exit. Otherwise the best option is to park your car at the great museum housing several masks, inscriptions, artifacts and a very good reproduction of Pakal's sarcophagus (entrance is included) and use the lower entrance just opposite. This entrance will entail a number of stairs in the shade to a small waterfall and then up again towards the main plaza and could be a good alternative too to avoid any hassle. However, the Unesco plaque is just after the top entrance so it's worth keeping in mind. Apart from the main plaza, the highlight of my visit were the several embossed inscriptions and masks which are pretty unique and in a very good condition. The best inscriptions are to be found on the northwest side just beneath the astronomical tower away from the main plaza on a bright white stone. On the stairs going down just behind the astronomical tower there is a magnificent sculpted mask which could easily be missed. Just look out for the dried palm leaves or the perspex 'roof' protecting it from the rain and you'll spot it. Another unique feature is the rabbit skull relief just above the stairs of the Temple of the Skull. Palenque is a really great site although it does not offer a jungle/forest setting anymore (several green lawns instead like Tikal's main plaza). Howler monkeys are getting closer to the city (or the other way round actally!) and there are billboards everywhere. Electricity pylons are protected with nets to avoid howler monkeys getting electrocuted when crossing from one side to the other of the streets. The best time to spot birdlife is mainly at sunset but sunrise could also be a valid alternative. I spotted several scarlet macaws, parakeets, motmots, egrets, herons, orioles, etc in the wild (it's sad that there is a Palenque Ecopark/Zoo when most caged animals/birds can be easily enjoyed in the wild). It's surprising that not many have visited/reviewed this great WHS but perhaps its unconvenient location can also be seen as a positive aspect it can still be enjoyed without the crowds.


Watch the video: Reproducción de la tumba de Pakal en el Museo de Sitio de Palenque, Chiapas. 2007