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One of the tasks for this season was to seal the spaces between the floorstones of Temple XIX with lime and cement to keep water from getting into the substructure.
All the architecture recording and restoration is directed by architect Rudy Larios V.
A team of geophysicists, directed by Dr. José R. Ortega from INAH, used Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to look for subsurface anomalies in Structures XIX and XX. The anomaly in this photograph is in Temple XIX, on the south side of the sculptured platform found in 1999.
Our non-invasive probes with GPR also revealed an anomaly in the southwest room of Temple XX, the structure where we found the frescoed tomb in 1999. The exact location and the depth of the subsurface discontinuity were clearly shown in this radar image. We use GPR so that we don't have to excavate indiscriminately but can focus in with great precision.
Excavating the anomaly in the southwest room of Temple XX, we found a small stone tomb. Given its position, right on top of a floor, at first we thought it was a bench. Further excavation revealed that it had stone slabs forming a floor, sides and top.
Further excavation of the stone box showed it to be a cist tomb similar to others used in burials at Palenque. Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez says that he has found this sort of stone box on top of other burials at the site.
Complete investigation revealed two jade ear flares, ten small jade beads and one larger jade bead (pictured). These were covered by a thick layer of dust that hid them from the video probe that we inserted when we first encountered the cist. Even though it had not been looted, there were no other artifacts. And the only trace of the person who was buried in it was a sliver of tooth enamel that disintegrated when uncovered from the dust.
At Palenque there is often a line of tombs along the rear wall of a building. After we identified the cist tomb in the southwestern corner of Temple XX, we started to excavate just to the north. Joshua Balcells is working on this excavation. This also turned out to be a tomb, although it was looted in antiquity.
Joshua Balcells and Alfonso Morales at work in Temple XX.