Alberto Ruz Lhuillier and Pakal's Tomb

Archaeologist, Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, was born in France on January 27, 1906. He moved to Mexico, becoming a nationalized Mexican on September 3, 1940. Ruz took much pride in his Mexican identity and acquired an admiration for Mexico’s history. In 1938, he began studying anthropology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (ENAH) in Mexico City. Ruz graduated from ENAH in 1945, becoming one of the first people in Mexico to acquire the professional title of “archaeologist.” In February of 1949, Ruz was assigned head of the excavation team at the Palenque ruins by the director of the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia (INAH), which is where he landed his great discovery.

With a height of 65 feet, the Temple of Inscriptions is the tallest structure found at the Palenque ruins. It possesses a wide frontal stairway that leads up to the temple where the three panels, covered in 620 carved hieroglyphs, are located. It was revealed by scholars that the hieroglyphs are dates of important events that occurred in Palenque, such as enemy attacks on the city and the rise of a new ruler to the throne, with the latest of the hieroglyphs dating back to 692 A.D. What intrigued Ruz about the Temple of Inscriptions was its flagstone flooring, as no other structure’s floor in Palenque was made of this type of material. He became particularly interested in the double row of holes that one of the stone slabs possessed. Ruz’s close observations of the temple allowed him to notice a valuable detail, it appeared the temple’s walls did not end at the floor.

Upon lifting the stone slab with the double row of holes, Ruz discovered an underground stairway that led into the center of the structure, but the entry had been purposefully blocked with large stones. From 1949 to 1951, Ruz and his team spent three seasons working countless hours that consisted of digging and removing stones from the hidden stairway.

In their fourth excavation season of 1952, they finished uncovering the stairway’s seventy-one stair steps, which led directly to a barred stone doorway. After digging through the doorway, Ruz and his team discovered a second blockaded door and in front of it was placed a box containing seven jade beads and earplugs with three red painted shells. Behind the second doorway, they found yet another box, which held the remains of six human skeletons. To their astonishment, Ruz and his team came across a third doorway that entered into a 29 ft. long by 13 ft. wide room, in which their great discovery was accomplished. The walls of the mysterious room were adorned in stucco figures that appeared to be nine men dressed in ancient attire. It is unclear whether these men were the Nine Lords of the Night from Maya theology or ancestors of the deceased. In the room, there was also a large rectangular stone slab, decorated in carved hieroglyphs, that was thought by Ruz to be an altar for Maya priests.

In mid November of 1952, Ruz solved the mystery of the hidden staircase in Palenque's Temple of Inscriptions after he ordered to have the large stone slab lifted and beneath it was found the tomb of the great Palenque ruler, K’inich Janahb Pakal. Pakal had ascended the throne when he was twelve years old and ruled the city of Palenque until his death in 683 A.D., at the age of eighty. Inside his sarcophagus, Pakal was found adorned with several pieces of jade jewelry, including a burial mask made of numerous jade fragments, shells and stones. Ruz’s discovery of Pakal’s tomb in the Temple of Inscriptions allowed for advancement in the understanding of ancient Maya culture and inspired Mexican archaeologists to further explore the intricate Maya architecture.

Images

Alberto Ruz Lhuillier

Alberto Ruz Lhuillier

This is an image of Mexican archaeologist, Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, at the moment he discovered the tomb of Lord Pakal under the rectangular stone slab that was found in the third blockaded room. Ruz™s discovery brought upon a wave of interest for the ancient Maya architecture, as it inspired archaeologists to explore deeper into the complex Maya structures. | Source: https://noticiaspalenque.wordpress.com/tag/alberto-ruz/ View File Details Page

Temple of Inscriptions

Temple of Inscriptions

The Temple of Inscriptions is the tallest structure discovered at the Palenque ruins, reaching a height of about 65 feet. The temple at the top of the structure contains three stone panels that are decorated in carved hieroglyphs, which have been studied extensively by Mayan researchers in an attempt to understand the history of the civilization. It is in this ancient structure that archaeologist, Alberto Ruz Lhuillier, makes his great discovery of Lord Pakal™s tomb. | Source: https://www.britannica.com/place/Temple-of-the-Inscriptions View File Details Page

Hidden Stairway

Hidden Stairway

This is an image of the hidden stairway that took almost four excavation seasons to uncover completely. The excavation team endured some of the most extreme working conditions, as the lack of light and oxygen inside the stairway hindered the workers digging progress. It became evident to archeologist, Alberto Ruz Lhuiller, that the stairway had been purposefully blocked with large stones by the ancient inhabitants, in order for it to have been almost impossible for a person to reach the end of the stairway. | Source: http://beforeitsnews.com/beyond-science/2015/03/the-mystery-of-king-pakal-2448860.html View File Details Page

The Tomb of Lord Pakal

The Tomb of Lord Pakal

The great Palenque ruler, K™inich Janahb Pakal, was born in the year 603 A.D. Pakal ascended to the throne when he was twelve years old and ruled the Maya city of Palenque until his death in 683 A.D. This image demonstrates the features and dimensions of the third room, in which Lord Pakal™s sarcophagus was discovered. The walls in the room were decorated with large stucco figures that appear to be ancient Maya priests and the rectangular stone slab, decorated in carved hieroglyphs, was located in the center of the room. Upon lifting the stone slab, Ruz was surprised to find beneath it, the coffin of Lord Pakal. Pakal was found adorned in numerous pieces of jade jewelry, including his burial mask made of small fragments of jade, shell, and stone. | Source: https://noticiaspalenque.wordpress.com/tag/alberto-ruz/ View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Jazmin E. Palacios, “Alberto Ruz Lhuillier and Pakal's Tomb,” HistoricalMX, accessed November 24, 2017, http://historicalmx.org/items/show/116.

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