When many of us think of the ancient civilization of the Maya, our minds instinctively jump to Chichen Itza and the brutal practice of human sacrifice that took place within the boundaries of the wondrous megalithic site. While standing in the shadow of El Castillo at Chichen Itza is awe-inspiring and humbling experience, the megalithic complex of Palenque is equally as incredible. Dating from 226 BCE to 799 CE, Palenque, also anciently known as Lakamha, was a Maya city state in southern Mexico that flourished in the 7th century. After its decline, it was absorbed into the jungle of cedar, mahogany, and sapodilla trees, but has since been excavated and restored and is now a famous archaeological site attracting thousands of visitors.
Palenque is also home to the controversial and enigmatic sarcophagus lid of K’inich Janaab’ Pakal. The massive stone slab has been the focal point of rigorous debate since its discovery in 1952 by Alberto Ruz Lhuillier inside the Temple of the Inscriptions. In Erich von Däniken’s 1968 best seller, Chariots of the Gods?, Von Däniken reproduced a drawing of the sarcophagus lid and compared Pakal’s pose to that of Project Mercury astronauts in the 1960s, interpreting drawings underneath him as rockets, and offering it as possible evidence of an extraterrestrial influence on the ancient Maya. Over fifty years later, the subject continues to be widely debated and is only one of the many mysteries of the ancient Maya.
About the Author: Andrew is the founder and editor in chief of Lost Origins. He is also the host of the radio show that falls under the same moniker. Andrew has been researching ancient mysteries, alternative historical theories, and lost civilizations for over fifteen years and started Lost Origins to provide a sounding board for authors and researchers to share their theories and concepts with the world. He lives in Denver with his family.