Sarcophagus lid from King Pacal’s Tomb
c. 680 A.D. Temple of Inscriptions Palenque
One of the most magnificent and famous pieces of Maya art yet discovered, King Pacal’s sarcophagus lies deep within Palenque’s Temple of Inscriptions. King Pacal was one of the longest ruling kings in history and left behind a grand legacy in the monuments of Palenque. The original is over 6’ wide by 10’ long, weighs several tons and cannot be removed from the tomb.
It was on June 15, 1952, that AIfred Ruz and his excavation crew looked upon a tomb that had been hidden away for over twelve centuries. It was from the inscriptions on Pacal’s sarcophagus that we have learned about his life, reign, death, and beliefs about the afterlife. To be sure conventional archaeology has what it thinks is a prosaic explanation for the strange markings on the sarcophagus lid; Pacal entering the underworld.
Too some others, this explanation is too conventional and does not explain the apparent machine from a culture supposedly without wheels or machinery. Some have suggested that this is a capsule, as in space capsule, with the orientation of the craft to be vertical rather than horizontal, as shown. Others believe it is some type of earthbound vehicle perhaps built to negotiate the miles of tunnels found under the earth.
Perhaps, we have an ancient man operating the dials of a machine, supported by a head rest, leaning forward, with evidence of some form of propulsion from the back.
The sarcophagus showed a well shaved man wearing clothings much like a close-fitting space-suit. The man was half way lying on a wrapping seat which held his lower back and his thighs, his nape reclined on a head-rest. His hands seem to be moving levers and controls.
The obvious question is: is the man depicted, a Mayan? In fact, supposedly, the Maya did not know machines of any kind, nor did were they aware of the wheel. Nevertheless, the side panels, the tubes and the other devices make one think of some high developed technology. That’s why this tomb is called the tomb of the astronaut.