Archaeologists explore Mexican tomb

25th Sep 2012

A team of intrepid archaeologists have ventured into the crumbling ruins of an unexplored tomb in southern Mexico.

Archaeologists from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History have entered the 1,500-year-old mortuary site in Palenque, which is situated beneath the top of the Mayan relic known as Temple XX.

The tomb, believed to be the final resting place of K'uk Bahlam I, Palenque's first sovereign ruler and the originator of the line that led to legendary Mayan governor Pakal, was discovered back in 1999.

Palenque was once a thriving Mayan city state, but the infirmity of Temple XX, which is almost 60 foot tall, has until now made it impossible for archaeologists to access the site.

Remote-controlled cameras have attempted to penetrate the tomb on two previous occasions, but these will be the first human footsteps inside the tomb since it was sealed.

Arnoldo Gonzalez, who is heading the investigation along with restorer Rogelio Rivero Chong, said the dates presented a good case for the mortuary site being the tomb of K'uk Bahlam I, but added the evidence was so far inconclusive.

"Even though we could be talking about the mortuary chambers of the founder of this dynasty, this doesn't stop being mere speculation until we commence the archaeological exploration - this chamber could even be an antechamber since we don't know if there is more below the ground," he said.

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