Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Greater Cross Group at Palenque

As I have written before, the most famous building group at Palenque is the group that contains the Temple of the Sun, Cross and the Foliated Cross. All three temples face inward toward a raised central platform that was probably used for ceremonial purposes. All three buildings have inner sanctuaries with carved monuments that have text and iconography of a similar theme. They were all built at the same time by the same ancient Maya ruler. This area is truly sacred ground, but as archaeologists who have explored the buildings to the south of this triadic complex have discovered, the sacred ground extends at least 250 meters south and then west along the Otolum River. I have labeled this area the "Greater Cross Group". It includes around 24 temples, some of which have been consolidated (restored). Others have been excavated, but remain in rubble, such as the twin temples of XVIII and XVIIIa. With the exception of Temple XVII, none of these buildings to the south of the triadic complex are accessible to the public.

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