Major finds by the Palenque Project have been announced by the Mexican government. The President of Mexico himself, Ernesto Zedillo, flew down to Palenque to show our discoveries to the world. Also joining in the announcement was Teresa Franco of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

The Project, officially titled the "Proyecto de Las Cruces, Palenque" and jointly sponsored by the Precolumbian Art Research Institute (PARI) and INAH, has discovered a stunningly beautiful limestone throne or bench in Temple XIX.

This is the temple where a 12 ft. tall stucco sculptured pier was discovered last season and is now being restored by our Mexican restoration staff. Alfonso Morales is chief archaeologist for the Project and Christopher Powell is Field Director. Merle Greene Robertson of PARI is Project Director. The archaeologist in charge of Temple XIX is Kirk Straight.

One side. of the bench, measuring 6' x 2', depicts three seated figures, two of them facing each other and the first one facing away toward a large panel of 32 glyphs. The end figures are connected by a rope which links them together.

David Stuart, Project Epigrapher, comments "Well what can I say? You've found what is perhaps the most important Maya tablet to come along in years, probably decades. I'm at a loss for words, and nothing can convey how excited I am about this". Having just seen the computer printout of the figures and text, he has deciphered some very important information on the text.

Stuart notes that "the principal text records mythological history before the birth of the Triad Gods, focusing on events in the life of ... G1 the Elder. It opens with a clear-cut, but surprising, Initial Series date of 9 Ik 5 Mol (10 March, 3309 B.C.) which is given as the god's seating date. This falls four centuries before the birth of G1 the Younger--the member of the Triad proper--and under two centuries before the birth of Lady Beastie. Nothing even similar is recorded in the tablets of the Cross Group."

The second date recorded on the tablet, Stuart notes, is 1 Chikchan 18 Ch'en. This is the 819 day-count station for the Initial Series, following the general structure of the Cross Group tablets and other major inscriptions at Palenque.

The right hand side of this throne/bench contains another panel of over 60 glyphs and a series of processional figures all facing the same direction. All is in pristine condition.

On the floor of Temple XIX is a part of what is probably another 12' side to a pier. Beautifully carved in limestone, it reveals a beautiful head of an important person , perhaps a ruler. As more is uncovered, we will know a lot more.

Lic. Ma. Teresa Franco, Director of INAH, the Governor of the State of Chiapas, Joaquin Garcia-Barcena, Presidente del consejo de arqueologia and others from INAH in Mexico City made the formal announcement to the Mexican people of the terrific discoveries at Palenque at a ceremony in Palenque.

The discovery was reported in the New York Times, Agence France-Presse and La Jornada among many others.