Mexico finds water tunnels under Pakal tomb in Palenque
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.
|Temple of the Inscriptions. Palenque Archaeological Zone [Credit: INAH]|
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.
|Excavations at the site [Credit: INAH]|
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."
|Tunnel opening [Credit: INAH]|
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."
|Floor of the main conduit [Credit: INAH]|
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.
|View of the stone-built interior [Credit: INAH]|
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.
|Schematic of the Temple of the Inscriptions [Credit: INAH]|
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.
|Carved lid of the tomb of K'inich Janaab Pakal I in the Temple of the Inscriptions |
Author: Mark Stevenson | Source: The Associated Press [July 25, 2016]