Explorations in Temple XIII

Previous references to Temple XIII are few and brief. The main reason behind this is that the temple had collapsed and did not make a strong impression on the first visitors and explorers who came to the site between the end of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth. It was only in 1889 that Alfred P. Maudslay, in carrying out his topographical survey, showed for the first time the location and topography of the temple, assigning it the number by which it became subsequently known.

In the course of his 1923 visit, Frans Blom wrote the following, regarding the structure we are dealing with: "To the W. of the Temple of the Inscriptions, there are two structures, the first of which is Temple XII [here Blom is clearly referring to Temple XIII], a mound lying on a terrace at a level slightly lower than that of the Temple of the Inscriptions. The other building is further W. and consists of a temple with parallel galleries. Only its E. portion has been preserved" (Blom, 1991: 142-143).

In 1954, Alberto Ruz Lhuillier initiated exploration and consolidation work at the temple, clearing its supporting substructure. The building displays all the architectural features of the traditional Palenque temple. These include a three-doored portico and an internal gallery subdivided into one central and two side chambers. During excavation work carried out on the portico, a tomb, looted in ancient times, was discovered. It still contained 25 jade beads and remnants of green and red paint, as well as some teeth and insignificant bone fragments (Ruz, 195a; 135).

Finally, in 1973, Jorge Acosta finished work on the northwestern corner of the Temple of the Inscriptions, which led him to work on part of the first and second levels of the substructure supporting Temple XIII, given that these abut the Temple of the Inscriptions (Acosta, 1975).


(Map: Ed Barnhart/FAMSI.)