Palenque was one of the most powerful
of the late-classic cities in the Maya
World. Today, Palenque is one of Mexico's most popular archaeological
Located in the southern state of Chiapas,
the park is quite spectacular when you realize that in addition
to what you can see, more than 300 structures remain buried.
The most impressive building is the Pyramid of Inscriptions,
contains the tomb of Lord Pacal, buried in 683 AD.The majority
of Mesoamerican pyramids do not include secret passageways or
tombs but this is the veritable exception to the rule.
Palenque was abandoned around 900 AD.
Palenque's modern fame arose after its exploration and description
by author John Lloyd Stephens and illustrator Frederick Catherwood
in the 1841 best-seller Incidents
of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and Yucatan.
The reputation was further enhanced due to the 1968 publication
of Chariots of the Gods, which contended that aliens constructed
the city and that the tomb within the Pyramid of Inscriptions
showed not a Maya King, but an ancient astronaut. Such interpretations
have been criticized not only as stupid but blatantly racist.