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The Wonders of the Sarcophagus of Pakal
In 683 A.D., Pakal, the great King of Palenque who had ruled for almost 70 years, died. Pakal's time had been one of great prosperity for his people, who honored him by entombing his body inside the Temple of the Inscriptions, a pyramid that Pakal himself had ordered built specifically to serve as his tomb. Pakal was buried in jade finery, including a beautiful death mask. Placed over Pakal's tomb was a massive sarcophagus stone, laboriously carved with an image of Pakal himself being reborn as a god. Pakal's sarcophagus and its stone top are among the great all-time finds of archaeology.
This Sarcophagus lid is decorated at both ends by mythological Gorgon heads in relief.
The Late Roman period (2nd - 3rd centuries CE)
Location. 32° 30.089′ N, 34° 53.459′ E. Marker is in Caesarea, Haifa District. Marker can be reached from Kvish HaTe'atron just west of Rothschild, on the right when traveling west. This historical marker is located in the Caesarea Maritima National Park, at the edge of the green space that is situated by the buildings, next to the inner harbor area. Touch for map. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Sarcophagus adorned with Rosettes (within shouting distance of this marker) The Harbor "Sebastos" (within shouting distance of this marker) Inscribed Stones / Sarcophagi (about 90 meters away, measured in a direct line) The Heart of Caesarea (about 90 meters away) Inscribed Sarcophagus adorned with Garlands (about 120 meters away) The Caesarea Nymphaeum (about 120 meters away) The Governor's Palace Baths (about 120 meters away) Fragments of an Inscribed Coenice (about 120 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Caesarea.
1. Caesarea Maritima. This is a link to information, regarding Caesarea Maritima, provided by Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (Submitted on July 11, 2019, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.)
2. Caesarea Maritima - Cornell University. This is a link to information, regarding Caesarea Maritima and the Promontory Palace, provided by Cornell University. (Submitted on July 11, 2019, by Dale K. Benington of Toledo, Ohio.)
Deformation or Defamation? The Hunt for Malformations within Pakal’s Family
A potential match between the depictions of Janaab’ Pakal’s deformity and the skeletal evidence was established during the Second Palenque Round Table. In their work, Greene, Rosenblum, and Scandizzo conclude from the sculptured portraits of the ruler that he suffered from a severe unilateral clubfoot. They argue that the full-figure portraits of Pakal on the Simojovel Plaque, on Piers B and D of House D in the Palace, and on the sarcophagus lid show a twisted foot. They say a similarly malformed foot is displayed on the Dumbarton Oaks Panel 2, attributed to Pakal’s grandson Hok.
Apart from clubfoot malformations, Greene and her colleagues propose from the broad nose, finger clubbing, elongated jaw, and large head in the portrait of Lady S’ak’K’uK’, that Pakal’s mother must have suffered the disfiguring effects of advanced acromegaly. Kan B’alam, Pakal’s son and heir to the throne, had a sixth toe and finger, as depicted in his palace portrait (Pier D, House A). Additional examples of polydactyly come from the Temple of the Inscriptions , the Temple of the Foliated Cross, and the Temple of the Sun, all ascribed to Pakal’s successor. Pakal himself is proposed to have been affected by polydactyly as well. Greene, Rosenblum Scandizzo, and Scandizzo encountered what they consider to be hints of his affliction on the sarcophagus lid, which they suggest depicts Pakal’s split left fifth toe.
Although there is still no unanimous agreement, the consensus amongst the experts is that Pakal was indeed of a very advanced age and no genetic deformities are attributed to him. It is however universally agreed that both Pakal and the Red Queen had deformed skulls and teeth. These deformations they insist, are the result of artificial cranial / dental modification. Their skeletons are described as “robust” and the skulls as “tabular oblique” in shape.
Notice the six fingers on Kan B’alam II’s hand, detail taken from his portrait which can be found at Pier D, House A, Palace, Palenque. (Illustration published in Tiesler and Cucina, Author provided)
Etruscan Sarcophagi and Funerary Rites
Decorated sarcophagi made up part of a much larger landscape of the Etruscan afterlife. The Etruscan necropolis—or city of the dead—was a parallel universe to the city of the living. Many of these burial sites were extensive, laid out on a grid plan much like the Etruscan towns, with paved roads, sidewalks, and regular blocks. Just like a town, the tombs grew organically over centuries, spreading out into ever wider zones as time passed. Today, wandering the necropoli of Cerveteri and Tarquinia gives visitors an idea of what an Etruscan town might have felt like.
Similar to the ancient Egyptians, the Etruscans seem to have conceived tombs as homes for their dead. They carved out structures of rock and volcanic stone—meant to last for eternity—and filled them with their most valuable and precious belongings.
Inside each tomb, the bodies of multiple generations of one family might be collected. This practice set the Etruscans apart from the ancient Greeks and Romans, who buried only the immediate family together. I find this practice fascinating since it shows that strong multigenerational family ties—such an important foundation of Italian culture—have very ancient roots.
This also means that over time, some tombs became not only a repository for human remains but also a treasure trove of precious goods made over a long span of time, from terra-cotta cinerary urns and sarcophagi to fine works of gold, silver, bronze—even imported luxuries such as Greek pottery and engraved ostrich eggs. The family would see these objects repeatedly as they entered the tomb over the generations. I imagine them convening after a funerary ritual, entering the tomb together to handle beloved family heirlooms and reminisce about those who had passed on before them.
Originally, the early Etruscans tended to cremate the dead, placing the remains inside large terracotta containers. The practice of incineration and placement in decorated earthenware containers continued throughout nine centuries of Etruscan culture. However, over time, inhumation inside life-sized sarcophagi made of terracotta, marble, alabaster, or stone was also widely practiced and coexisted with cremation.
The J. Paul Getty Museum
Inscription: "T(ITO) AELIO / MAXIMO / IUN(IA) AELIA / RUFINA FIL(IA)" [the last two letters overlap the frame] Translation from Latin: "For Titus Aelius Maximus, Iunia Rufina,[his] daughter [had this sarcophagus made]".
Fragment of a Sarcophagus Lid with Athletes Training (Display Title)
Truncated at both ends, the relief shows young, naked athletes in a variety of activities at the palaestra, or training grounds. Three of them are engaged in a footrace, while another runner carries a shield as he trains for the hoplite race. One figure holds halteres a form of dumbbells used as exercise equipment for wrestlers. In a scene unique to Roman sarcophagi, the athlete at left is preparing the grounds for the wrestling match with a pick or rake. The inscription in the tabula indicates that Iunia Rufina, daughter of Titus Aelius Maximus, had this sarcophagus made for her father. Known since the 1600s, this fragmentary lid belongs to the small group of so-called vita privata sarcophagi featuring idealized vignettes from the lives of Roman citizens.
William Ponsonby, 2nd earl of Bessborough, 1704 - 1793 (Bessborough House, Roehampton, England)
Frederick Ponsonby, 3rd earl of Bessborough, 1758 - 1844 (Bessborough House, Roehampton, England)
After 1848/by 1872
William Lowther, 2nd earl of Lonsdale, English, 1787 - 1872 (Lowther Castle, Cumbria, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1872.
1872 - 1876
Henry Lowther, 3rd Earl of Lonsdale, 1818 - 1876 (Lowther Castle, Cumbria, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1876.
1876 - 1882
St George Henry Lowther, 4th Earl of Lonsdale, 1855 - 1882 (Lowther Castle, Cumbria, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1882.
1882 - 1944
Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale, 1857 - 1944 (Lowther Castle, Cumbria, England), by inheritance to his heirs, 1944.
1944 - 1953
Lancelot Edward Lowther, 6th Earl of Lonsdale, 1867 - 1953, by inheritance to his heirs, 1953.
James Hugh William Lowther, 7th earl of Lonsdale, 1922 - 2006 [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 1, 1969, lot 127, to Royal Athena Galleries.]
1969 - 1971
Royal Athena Galleries, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1971.
Art in Roman Life: From Villa to Grave (September 19, 2003 to October 12, 2005)
Fabretti, Raphael. Urbinatis Inscriptionum Antiquarum Quae in Aedibus Paternis Asservantur Explicatio et Additamentum. (Rome: Antonio Herculis, 1699), p. 370, no. 142.
d'Orville, Jacques P, and Petrus Burmannus. Sicula: Quibus Siciliae Veteris Rudera, Additis Antiquitatum Tabulis, Illustrantur (Amsterdam: Gerardum Tielenburg, 1764), p. 593, no. 73.
Christie, James. A Disquisition upon Etruscan Vases: Displaying Their Probable Connection with the Shows at Eleusis, and the Chinese Feast of Lanterns, with Explanations of a Few of the Principal Allegories Depicted Upon Them. (London: William Bulmer, and Co., 1806), pp. 38-9, ill.
Christie, James. Disquisitions upon the painted Greek vases, and their probable connection with the shows of the Eleusinian and other mysteries (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, Paternoster-Row, 1825), p. 1, 40, ill.
Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (Berlin: 1862-), vol. 6, no. 10735.
Matz, Friedrich."Antikensammlungen in England." Archäologische Zeitung 31 (1874), p. 30.
Michaelis, Adolf Theodor Friedrich. Ancient Marbles in Great Britain (Cambridge: University Press, 1882), p. 494, no. 48.
Sotheby's, London. Sale cat., July 1, 1969, lot no. 127.
Frel, Jiří. Antiquities in the J. Paul Getty Museum: A Checklist Sculpture II: Greek Portraits and Varia (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, November 1979), p. 23, no. V33.
Bonanno Aravantinou, Margherita. "Un frammento di sarcofago romano con fanciulli atleti nei Musei Capitolini," Bollettino d'arte 15 (1982) 67-84, 71, no. D7.
Amedick, Rita. Die antiken Sarkophagreliefs, 1. Die Sarkophage mit Darstellungen aus dem Menschenleben, 4. Vita privata. Berlin, 1991, p. 133, no. 69 pl. 87,3.
Bodel, John, and Stephen Tracy. Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the USA: A Checklist (New York: American Academy in Rome, 1997), p. 13.
Dresken-Weiland, Jutta. Sarkophagbestattungen des 4.-6. Jahrhunderts im Westen des römischen Reiches (Rome: Herder, 2003), p. 246, no. 10735.
Fadda, Salvatore, "The Dismembered Collection of Antiquities of Lowther Castle", Journal of the History of Collections 31 (2019), 319-31, p. 323.
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King Pakal’s sarcophagus lid shows a man tilting backwards surrounded by glyphs and symbols that run along the edges of the lid representing important components of Mayan cosmology.
The mainstream consensus among Mayan experts is that the image on the Sarcophagus does not depict King Pakal as an Ancient Astronaut but instead, the image tells the story of King Pakal’s death and descent into the underworld.
However, an alternative explanation of the engraving of the lid of King Pakal’s sarcophagus was advanced by Ancient Astronaut Theorist Erich von Daniken in his book Chariots of the Gods where he claimed the lid depicted King Pakal riding on a rocketship.
On the basis of Erich von Daniken’s observations in Chariots Of The Gods, Ancient Astronaut Theorists state that King Pakal may have been part of the race of Alien Ancient Astonauts that built Civilization on Earth.
The leading criticism of Von Daniken’s explanation of King Pakal’s Sarcophagus as depicting an Ancient Astonaut criticises his suggestion that rocket power would be the method used by technologically superior Aliens to travel the Solar system.
The idea that Extraterrestrials would use rocket power to arrive on Earth seems anachronistic because this type of technology would be primitive to Aliens.
However, the use of rocket terminology does not in itself disprove Daniken’s argument that King Pakal was an Ancient Astronaut because the carvings on the lid could also be an advanced Reactor eg using antimatter or some other advanced form of Alien propulsion.
King Pakal: The Sumerian-Egyptian Connection
A deeper Ancient Astronaut Theory analysis of the lid of King Pakal’s Tomb based on the works of Zechariah Sitchin’s Earth Chronicles ultimately leads to the Anunnaki Gods of Ancient Egypt and Sumer who may have built an Alien Civilization on Earth.
Zecharia Sitchin’s Ancient Astronaut Theory analysis of King Pakal’s Tomb expanded beyond the self-contained mythology of one particular geographical area in determining the meaning of King Pakal’s sarcophagus lid.
In his book, The Lost Realms, Sitchin demonstrates that similarities exist between the Burial rites of Pharaohs in Ancient Egyptian Tombs and those observed in King Pakal’s Tomb.
For instance, in Ancient Egypt, a class of priests called Shem Priests wore leopard skins. Maya depictions of similarly clad priests wearing Jaguar skins rather than that of an African Leopard have been found suggesting a similarity in Burial rites.
Scholars have also admitted that one cannot avoid an implicit comparison between Pakal’s Tomb and the crypts of the Egyptian Pharaohs, especially the funerary scene symbols depicting the journey to an afterlife.
In addition, the Legend of Votan relates the arrival of the first man whom God sent to the region who divided the realm into four domains, establishing a City to serve as the Capital of each domain of which Palenque was mentioned as one.
Palenque is therefore recognised as one of the oldest Cities in the region according to Ancient Mayan Tradition.
These connections that come out of applying the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis to King Pakal’s Tomb and the History of the Mayan Civilization in general suggest that King Pakal may have belonged to the group of Alien Gods also known as the Anunnaki that brought Civilization to Earth.
If this conclusion is correct, it means that Erich von Daniken’s observations about King Pakal’s Tomb as depicting an Alien God riding some kind of Spacecraft in Chariots Of The Gods may be worthy of consideration and further investigation.
By the time of Pakal’s death, the vast majority of Anunnaki had aready left earth, but there is the possibility that Pakal was an Anunnaki that had stayed behind, with his sarcophagus depicting his return to the Anunnaki Home Planet Nibiru.
It is the connections that the Ancient Astronaut Hypothesis can make between the Mayan Civilization and the other Anunnaki realms in Egypt and Mesopotamia that may help shed more light on the true meaning of king Pakal’s Tomb at Palenque and whether it depicts King Pakal as an Ancient Astronaut on a rocketship.
Assassin’s Creed Origins Taste of Her Sting Side Quest Walkthrough
Taste of Her Sting is a Side Quest in Assassin’s Creed Origins. This walkthrough shows how to complete the quest.
Recommended Level: 17
Regions: Lake Mareotis, Kanopos Nome, Ka-Khem Nome
Reward: 3750 XP
- Learn more about the mysterious killer (Investigate 4 ritual sites)
- Explore the Ruined Temple
- Find the entrance to the cave
- Explore the cave
- Speak to the Prophet of Serqet
- Kill the Prophet of Serqet
This quest will trigger when Bayek has encountered one of the four sites where it appears some kind of ritual slaughter occurred. Likely the first place you will trigger this quest is the island in the lower part of Lake Mareotis, east of the Temple of Sekhmet in Yamu. On the north side of the island will be a series of stone steps that are covered in blood, with a huge blood pool in the water. Once you enter the investigation area, you will have to find five objects, which will be marked with the Eye of Ra. If you have trouble locating them, using your Animus Pulse will highlight them in yellow instead of white, making them much easier to find.
Approach them to trigger an “investigate” button prompt.
- Wooden sarcophagus lid in the water
- Wooden sarcophagus on the steps
- Golden statue of Sekhmet on the left side of the steps
- At the top of the steps, a blood stained sheet.
- Near the top of the steps, a scroll with a prayer on it.
After this initial location, the locations are typically more out of the way.
- Second Site: Shrine of SarapisAs you approach the Shrine of Sarapis, take note of the narrow crack in the cliff beneath the statue. Squeeze into this small area for the first investigation item, a bloody table where a body was prepared.
- You will also find a scorpion image on the lid of a wooden sarcophagus.
- Examine the body on the ground
- Next, check the base of the statue for another scorpion image
- A short distance away, you’ll find another prayer to Serqet.
- Third Site: Crocodile Lair
- Start your investigation with the boat at the edge of the ruins.
- Next, examine the statue of Sobek leaning against the stones.
- Then climb on top of the nearby rocks and investigate another wooden sarcophagus.
- And right below you on the other side will be another scroll with a prayer to Serqet.
- Fourth Site: Sapi-Nes Ruins
- Examine the tracks leading into and out of the ruins.
- Next examine the sarcophagus that was transported in.
- In the middle of the pool in the ruins, you’ll find a deeper part that you can dive into. Submerge and you’ll find some loot and some remains
- At the edge of the pool, you’ll find yet another scroll with a prayer to Serqet.
Once you have examined all four temples, you will be given a waypoint and instructed to Explore the Ruined Temple.
- As you enter the temple, the first item you’ll notice is sarcophagi marked with the symbol of Serqet
- Look inside the crack in the wall to hear some creepy voices.
Next, you’ll have to use Senu to Find the Entrance to the Cave, which you’ll find just to the southeast of the ruins.
Go to the location, and Explore the Cave, until you’re prompted to Speak to the Prophet of Serqet.
Once you see the Prophet, approach him to trigger a cutscene. Unsurprisingly he isn’t pleased that you’ve intruded on his ceremony, and a combat encounter ensues.
Kill the Prophet of Serqet and confirm the kill to complete the quest.
It’s Not an Alien Astronaut
When I visited the famous Maya city of Palenque, in southern Mexico, I had the chance to see the full-size replica of the sarcophagus of K’inich Janaab’ Pakal, or Pakal the Great.
The original is still under the Temple of Inscriptions, where it was discovered in 1952. Unfortunately, archaeologists at that time were not able to translate the many symbols and glyphs on the sarcophagus. So people guessed at the meaning. One guess, in particular, proved to be very popular.
In his book, Chariots of the Gods, published in 1968, Eric Von Daniken proposed that the image on the sarcophagus actually showed an alien astronaut. Palenque was one of the ancient sites that he proposed were proof of alien presence on Earth. The book was wildly popular, selling over seven million copies. That same year, Arthur C. Clarke’s space epic, 2001: A Space Odyssey, was published. It continued a story line from his earlier work, “The Sentinel,” written in 1951, which tells the story of an ancient artifact left on the moon by alien beings. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the obelisk proves to be the force behind the sudden advancements in human achievement, including the first use of weapons by the ape-men shown at the beginning of the movie.
So Von Danniken was simply using popular science fiction theories and imposing them on specific ancient sites, including, among others, Machu Pichu, Nazca, Cusco, and Palenque. The problem is now that experts can read Mayan glyphs and understand Mayan cosmology, people still want to see a picture of an alien astronaut on Pakal the Great’s tomb.
When I was walking from the ruins to the museum, I passed numerous street vendors offering small replicas of Pakal’s tomb lid, one of which I bought for ten dollars. But the vendor also held the plaque up sideways and pointed out the alien astronaut, in case that’s what I wanted.
The hoax is extraordinarily long-lived. Maybe it’s the appeal of seeing intelligent aliens as part of our history. TV shows like “Ancient Aliens,” “In Search of Aliens,” “Mystery Quest,” and “History’s Mysteries” keep the story of the alien astronaut alive and well. For an episode of “Ancient Aliens,” Paul Francis, a model maker, created a 3-D image of the alien astronaut on Pakal’s tomb lid. (See photo, above.) He admitted, “I had to be a little interpretive.” I guess so! The “rocket” he created looks nothing like the image on the sarcophagus.
This whole debate arose out of ignorance of the belief system and cultural symbols of the ancient Maya. It would be like seeing a photo of the Indian god Ganesh (See image, above) and trying to interpret it with no knowledge of the Hindu beliefs behind it. Or looking at the image from the Book of Kells, the beautiful illuminated gospels drawn on calfskin in Ireland around 800 AD, without an understanding of the Four Evangelists it pictures and their winged representations. (That would be clockwise from the top left: Mathew – shown as a winged man, Mark – shown as a winged lion, John – shown as an eagle, and Luke – shown as a winged ox.) These symbols come from the prophetic Revelation of St. John.
Imagine the wild theories you could come up with if you didn’t know the background.
Maya symbols and cosmology
The World Tree
As it turns out, Maya cosmological beliefs, many of which were absorbed from earlier cultures, were fairly consistent across the Maya city-states. They saw the world as divided into three zones: The Upper World, or the land of the gods, the Middle World, where humans live, and the Underworld, which is the realm of death. However, these realms weren’t necessarily defined as good or evil. Every part had its value.
The World Tree spanned all three worlds. Its roots were in the Underworld, its trunk in the Middle World, and its highest branches in the Other World. It took several forms, including a Ceiba tree, a stylized maize plant, and a cacao tree. The version used on Pakal’s tomb lid is also used in a mural in the Temple of the Foliated Cross at Palenque.
Here you see the same imagery (minus the reclining human): the World Tree rising from the offering bowl (marked with the dotted X “kin” sign and filled with the trappings of royalty: the crossed sky band, the fish, and the lancet for ritual blood-letting) on top of the Underworld/realm of the dead (Cauac monster head). At the top of the tree is the Principal Bird Deity.
All along the tree you find the symbol for precious greenstone celts, emphasizing wealth and power as well as shining glory. (In the diagram the glyphs for jade celts are marked in red) The tree is also marked with the sign for wood.
Curled around the upper section of the tree is the Milky Way conflated with the double-headed serpent bar, which was the symbol of power for Maya kings. (See diagram below. Each serpent has a huge upper jaw.)
It’s interesting to see the same elements repeated in other tablets and murals which show the World Tree in the center, growing out of the Earth Monster/ Underworld. In the case of the Temple of the Cross (drawing above), the World Tree is a maize plant, with personified ears of corn growing out of the branches. Once again, it grows out of the Cuauc Monster/Underworld figure at the bottom, and the Principal Bird Deity rests at the top. Interestingly, the two figures in the mural are the same person at different ages. Note that the figure on the right stands on a personified maize plant, while the one on the left stands on a Cuauc monster with a cleft head from which corn emerges.
The King Dying and the Young Maize God Being Reborn
Pakal, on his tomb lid, is presented as both the man dying, falling into the maw of the Underworld (between jaguar jawbones) and the baby being born onto the Tree of Life. Certain Maya rulers were thought to take on the role of god-kings who could intercede with the spirit world after death. In this image, Pakal is being reborn as the maize god. (Note the seed and leaf image just below the reclining figure of Pakal.) Just as the maize seed must be buried in the earth in order to grow, Pakal is falling into the Underworld only to rise again.
Pakal is shown lying on his back, with the right leg raised, which is the sign for “unen” or baby (drawing on left). While this sign usually shows an infant, it’s also used to show the birth of the maize god on a Late Classic vase (drawing on right).Note the vegetation growing out of the cleft head of the Cuauc monster.
The jade skirt
Pakal’s net jade skirt is interesting in that the diamond weave is usually associated with women. Indeed, a very similar skirt seems to be worn by Pakal’s mother in a tablet found in the royal palace. (See drawing, left) This may suggest an androgynous combination, just as the adult in the baby pose suggests a combination of youth and age.
The turtle emblem
The turtle emblem Pakal carries on his chest (drawing by Linda Schele, left) may be a reference to the rebirth of the Maize God from the Turtle Shell, as referenced on this plate (drawing above, right).:
Ancestors and nobles
All along the border on the outside of the image are references to celestial bodies and six portraits of leading nobles. The coffin inside the sarcophagus is carved on all four sides with portraits of Pakal’s ancestors emerging as trees sprouting from the earth. Painted stucco figure on the walls of the tomb echo these references to relatives and important figures in the life of the leader who was laid to rest in the tomb.
While some may find it harmless fun to see an alien astronaut instead of a famous leader immortalized by his tombstone, for me, it seems a little insulting to the people who created this amazing piece of complicated and beautiful art.
Sources and interesting reading:
Coe, Michael D. The Maya. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1999.
Fields, Virginia M. and Dore Reents-Budet. Lords of Creation: The Origins of Sacred Maya Kingship. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Scala Publishers: 2005.
Foster, Lynn V. Handbook to Life in the Ancient Maya World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Guenter, Stanley. “The Tomb of K’inich Janaab Pakal: The Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque,” Southern Methodist University, http://www.mesoweb.com/articles/guenter/Tl.pdf/
Heyworth, Robin, “Chicanna Structure II: The Monster Mouth Temple,” Uncovered History (blog) 16 July 2016. http://uncoveredhistory.com/mexico/chicanna/chicanna-structure-ii-monster-temple/
Mark, Joshua. J. “K’inich Janaab’ Pakal,” Ancient History Encyclopedia. http:///www.ancient.eu/Kinich_Janaab_Pacal/
Martin, Simon, and Nikolai Grube. Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya. London: Thames and Hudson, 2000.
Miller, Mary, and Simon Martin. Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Thames and Hudson, 2004.
Minster, Christopher, “The Sarcophagus of Pakal,” Latin American History, About.com. http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/Maya/fl/The-Sarcophagus-of-Pakal.htm
Palenque: History, Art and Monuments, booklet, reproduced and authorized by the National Institute of Archaeology and History (INAH) 2001.
“Palenque Mexico,” Mayan Ruins: The Ultimate Guide of the Mayan Ruins.” http://mayanruins.info/mexico/palenque-mexico/
Stone, Andrea, and Marc Zender. Reading Maya Art: A Hieroglyphic Guide to Ancient Maya Painting and Sculpture. New York: Thames and Hudson, 2011.
Tedlock, Dennis. 2000 Years of Mayan Literature. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.
The Sarcophagus That Went to the Getty
One of our most precious objects went on a trip this week. The Egyptian child sarcophagus lid, usually displayed in our Egypt gallery, was requested by the UCLA/Getty Conservation program for a graduate thesis project. The conservation student, Casey, will be working closely with her advisors to partially conserve, research, x-ray, and analyze the lid. She will return the lid to us in June with detailed information about its original production and clues as to whose sarcophagus this lid was meant to top.
Preparing the lid for travel was not easy and took months of preparation by our collections staff. After a few visits, several phone calls, dozens of pictures, and numerous emails we, along with key members from the UCLA/Getty team, created a plan for treatment and travel. Our very own Exhibits Technician, Ken Bordwell, built a custom crate and fitted it with an internal stretcher and foam supports for the fragile object. Casey, the student conservator, came down from L.A. to perform temporary triage on areas of the lid that were unstable. Following the treatment, we loaded the lid into the crate and drove it to the Getty Villa where their conservation lab is located. I am very happy to say that the sarcophagus lid arrived safely with no damage.
Over the next several months Casey will be working on the lid, so be sure to check back with us to see how things progress.