Newly Revealed Text Fragments from Palenque

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) today announced an interesting historical analysis of a previously unpublished inscription from Palenque. These “new” fragments were found a number of years ago near the Temple of the Sun, where they originally were part of an interior wall panel flanking the temple’s inner sanctuary. Epigrapher Guillermo Bernal Romero believes that this text names a previously unknown son of the ruler K’inich Janab Pakal. I’m not so sure of this interpretation, but the text is fascinating, raising a number of questions.

I suspect we’ll revisit this text and its implications in a future Maya Decipherment posting.

Announcement from INAH Noticias’s Facebook page

6 thoughts on “Newly Revealed Text Fragments from Palenque

  1. Alexandre Tokovinine February 10, 2011 / 6:40 PM

    Looks more like Kan Balam with a bunch of additional titles… Pre-accession name? What is in the 6-…NAL title?

    • David Stuart February 10, 2011 / 10:37 PM

      Right Alex, I think this is probably an indirect reference to K’inich Kan Bahlam, perhaps as an embodiment or an “impersonator” of a deity or ancestor of some sort. Same kind of thing is on the sanctuary jamb of the Temple of the Cross.

  2. Werner Nahm February 11, 2011 / 9:56 AM

    David is of course correct in implying that this inscription is not new.
    It was reproduced by Waldeck, and in part drawn by Linda Schele
    (Schele number 177). Surprisingly, Linda partially disregarded
    Waldeck’s drawing (though she obviously used it) and has one glyph
    missing in the middle of the text. There she places a fragment which
    seems to be Pakal’s name from the column behind the figure (not
    in the photo).

  3. Werner Nahm February 14, 2011 / 9:56 AM

    Sorry, the additional fragment drawn by Linda belongs elsewhere, since
    No. 415 in the Schele drawings collection shows the complete text behind Kan Bahlam (apparently, a fragment found in the late 70’s or the 80’s
    had been added after she drew No. 177).
    I assume that Linda had good reason to assign the new fragment to the north sanctuary jamb, though it was not included by Waldeck. It must have come from the upper part of the text, before Kan Bahlam’s face. The second sign was probably his name, K’inich Kan Bahlam.

    • David Stuart February 14, 2011 / 4:55 PM

      I was wondering as well about that small fragment with K’inich Kan Bahlam’s name, included by Linda in her drawing. Now that we have these rediscovered portions of the text, I doubt there’s room for it anywhere on the north sanctuary jamb, unless, as you say, its from the still-missing portion up above. Armendáriz’s 1787 drawing shows only four blocks near the top of the spear, including the 10 Chuwen 4 Sak CR for the war with Tonina, but still little room of the king’s name. It’s possible therefore that the small piece with the king’s name comes from the opposite jamb that Armendáriz and Waldeck recorded, no fragments of which are known today (but I’m sure they’re still in the ground somewhere in the neighborhood of the temple, where Waldeck had his camp in 1832-3).

  4. Stanley Guenter February 15, 2011 / 2:23 AM

    Thanks for posting this Dave; I hadn’t seen the actual glyphs in question before.

    Isn’t the glyph at x3 the possible EHT glyph that Simon wrote about in the Cautivos de Dzibanche book and that you and Werner have written about in terms of the early lintels at Yaxchilan? As such, glyphs x4-x7 should be the names of one or more captives taken by K’inich Kan Bahlam II. Glyphs x4 and x5 are clearly part of a single name, and I wonder if glyphs x6 and x7 might be another composite name. This would provide us with the names of two captives; Wak …nal Bahlam and Ch’a…. Chan/Kan; “… Jaguar” and “… Snake”. This would be an interesting pairing, given the king’s own royal name. If we note Peter’s observation that the 10 Chuen 4 Zac appears at the top of this inscription in Armendáriz’s drawing, it would appear that these may even have been captives taken on that day in battle against Tonina. Their mention in the temple of warfare would be most appropriate. Anyway, just my two cents worth. Cheers,


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