Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Bones of K'inich Janaab' Pakal

As part of my research, I am investigating the personalities of those who have worked in the Palenque Cross Group and sometimes while doing this research, I come across some very interesting tidbits about these people, their actions and reactions. Recently, while going through some of Linda Schele's letters, I came across letters from Bob Robertson, the late husband of Merle Green Robertson, (photo is from Merle's book "Never in Fear") to Linda that related a very humorous and endearing event regarding the bones of K'inich Janaab' Pakal who was ancient Palenque's most influential ruler, ruling from March 23, 603 to August 28, 683.

Pakal's bones were found in 1952 by Alberto Ruz in an elaborate tomb inside the Temple of the Inscriptions. The letters are dated October and November of 1977 and they were about how the archaeologists from Mexico City were headed to Palenque to take the bones to Mexico City, do restoration work on them, and then return them to Palenque. Here is what one of the letters said:

Last Thursday 5 individuals from INAH descended upon the Runias for the express purpose to prepare Pacal's bones so they could be taken to Mexico City.....Telegrams and phone calls to the Governor and the Pres. and no doubt INAH; meetings of the Mayor, Carlos, David, Moises and others. The school children were alerted for a strike and a peaceful march to the runias to protest. The Indians were notified and the townspeople were notified by use of a sound truck.

Ramon (who was one of the INAH anthropologists) met with the mayor and told him they were preparing the bones to stay here at Palenque and promised the skull will be brought back. Just by chance Alberto Ruz was in Villahermosa when all this was taken place. At the moment all is quite. Some of INAH folks have gone back-- the photographers. There is a committee set up and two watchers are constantly at the tomb for they are still working to see that the bones remain here. Yesterday's Sunday paper from Villahermosa had headlines—

“INAH STEALS BONES OF PRINCE” In the article, they said some "snobs and *~a* traitors call the Prince Pacal" and international stupids say he is an astronaut.

In the next letter, Bob and Merle tell Linda that none of the bones were taken out and instead the tomb had been sealed to make sure that they were secure. Even the governor of Chiapas called to make sure that the bones were not moved. To my knowledge, the bones are still in the tomb where, no doubt, they are deteriorating into dust.