Friday, June 24, 2011

Tiny camera reveals the inside of a Mayan tomb that has been sealed for 1,500 years - 24th June 2011

A tiny, remote-controlled camera has been lowered into an early Mayan tomb that has been sealed for 1,500 years.

Extraordinary footage of the tomb at the Palenque archaeological site in southern Mexico revealed an apparently intact funeral chamber with red frescoes, pottery and pieces of a funerary shroud made of jade and mother of pearl.

It also showed a series of nine figures depicted in black on a vivid, blood-red background.

Archaeologists say the images from one of the earliest ruler's tombs found at Palenque will shed new light on the early years of the once-great city state.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History said archaeologists have known about the tomb since 1999, but have been unable to enter it because the pyramid standing above it is unstable and breaking into the chamber could damage the murals.

It said the floor appears to be covered with detritus and it is not immediately evident in the footage if the tomb contains recognisable remains. Read More

WHO WERE THE MAYANS?

  • * The Mayan Civilisation is the general name given to several independent, loosely affiliated city states who shared a cultural heritage.
  • * They occupied central America, including the southern parts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
  • * It was an area of about 150,000 square miles - researchers tend to split the Maya into the Highland and Lowland Maya.
  • * The Maya are thought to have existed between 500 BC and AD 900.
  • * The various groups spoke nearly 30 closely related languages and dialects.