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On March 15 we discovered a beautiful rectangular carved stone bench or throne. Announcement of the find was delayed so that the President of Mexico himself could come down to Palenque and announce the find to the world.
(Click here for our Internet "press release" of this event, with photographs.)
The west side of the bench was encountered about nine meters east of the north-south central axis of the Temple. The long axis of the bench is parallel to and just south of the interior wall of the front gallery of the Temple.
(Click here for a plan of Temple XIX showing the location of the find.)
The bench is constructed of carved stone tablets on the west and south sides. The east side of the bench is a blank polished tablet with traces of red paint, and the north side, close to the interior wall, is plastered. The bench is covered by a plain, polished limestone slab approximately ten centimeters thick. The eastern third of the stone top of the bench was found smashed and some of the pieces were apparently removed intentionally.
The west side of the bench is made of a single, unbroken, stone tablet .45 m high by 1.61 long and 5 to 6 cm thick. This tablet is carved in low relief, and is very well preserved. The iconographic scene is bounded on both sides by blocks of hieroglyphic texts and depicts three (as yet unidentified) seated figures bound together with a rope and holding incense bags.
The hieroglyphic text on the west tablet begins with a date of 126.96.36.199.0 7 Ahaw 8 Kayab (561 A.D.) from the life of a long-dead king, K'an Hok' Chitam I.
(Click here for a genealogy of Palenque rulers.)
It continues with historical information from the life of K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nab III, ending with the date 188.8.131.52.0 10 Ahaw 8 Chen (736 A.D.)
(Click here for an extreme close-up of some of the hierglyphs under discussion.
The southern tablet is the same height and thickness as the side tablet and is 2.48 meters long. This side of the bench received a severe blow from a roof stone in its center. The tablet is cracked into three pieces in the center, and a small piece of the upper right corner is also broken.
Seven seated figures are depicted on this tablet, which is also bounded by blocks of hieroglyphic texts. The central figure is King K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nab III and the right-hand figure is named with the same "Y-Ajaw-K'ak" title found on the alfarda tablet. The other figures are still unidentified.
The hieroglyphic texts on the south tablet begin in mythological time in 184.108.40.206.5, 1 Chik'chan 18 Ch'en, (May 10, 3310 B.C.) and continue to the accession date for K'inich Ahkal Mo' Nab III on 220.127.116.11.2 9 Ik 5 K'ayab, (721 A.D.).
(Click here for an extreme close-up of the glyphs, beginning with the 1 Chik'chan 18 Ch'en date.)
The iconography and hieroglyphic texts on the west and south sides of the bench are currently being analyzed by Alfonso Morales and Dr. David Stuart.
more photos in Archive