Extremely surprised after finding an ancient Mayan “death mask” deep inside the room of a temple. Archaeologists have conducted research.
Mysterious discovery in Palenque.
Palenque is located amidst lush forest and dense foliage in the southern part of Mexico. It was not the largest Mayan city of all times, but it has been described as one of the most stunning. Its architecture and the accompanying carvings and sculptures are some of the most beautiful surviving pieces of Mayan history, in an area where civilization once flourished.
Compared to other Maya settlements in Mexico, Palenque is far more technically advanced.
For example, a sophisticated plumbing system has provided its inhabitants with abundant spring water – just one of the many perks of living there.
In the seventh century AD, the city was ruled by a powerful king, Pacal the Great.
He had one of the longest reigns of any Maya monarch, ascending the throne in 615 at the age of 12 and reigning until his death at the age of 80.
During his time in power, he oversaw the construction of some of Palenque’s incredible sacred sites such as the colossal Central Palace.
The temple and the work that archaeologists have done in and around it were explored in the Smithsonian Channel documentary, ‘Sacred Sites: Maya’.
In the mid-20th century, researchers discovered a relic that could offer “new insight” into what the Mayans believed about the afterlife, the documentary says.
Excavating the temple’s foundation, they discovered a passage leading to a room deep within the pyramid.
A jade “death mask”.
It contained a coffin covered with a stone lid – inside were the remains of an elite Mayan wearing a jade “death mask”.
The hieroglyphs on the coffin quickly confirmed that the remains belonged to King Pacal, much to the surprise of the researchers.
This means that this temple contains the tomb of the great king himself.
The narrator notes that although it is a burial ground, it is also “intended to be a place of resurrection.” This means that for the ancient people, this mausoleum is not only a burial place, but they also hold out hope for a day to come.
On the lid of the coffin, images illustrate the central Mayan belief that the Universe is made up of three levels: the Earth, the underworld, and the heavens.
Leaving this world, Pascal emerged from the underworld and was reincarnated into eternal life in heaven in the inscriptions.
The narrator said: “This is the essence of the Mayan religion.”