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The Mayan Collections OF Palenque Got Updated

By Frank D. Gardner

National Institute of Anthropology and History or INAH

The three thousand pieces of the pre-Hispanic site of Chiapas was restored, packaged and newly cataloged by the INAH specialists.

The majority of objects is dated from 550 to 750 AD and the work is part of the Archaeological Zone Management Actions Plan.

3,000 pre-Hispanic objects, product of explorations made in the first half of the previous century in Palenque, Chiapas archaeological site, are considered the entity of a reorganization which means their restoration, packaging, cataloging and also moving to a completely new storage place will fulfill the optimal conditions for their conservation.

Included in the Management Plan of the Archeological Site, this work that's made by experts from INAH will include in the first stage, the new organization of the pieces, from which fifteen hundred pieces have been restored as well as relisted.


The objects dating from 550 to 750 AD, were mostly Mayan and were found from the explorations made by archaeologist Alberto Ruz Lhuillier in the 50's and of excavations made by Franz Blom and Miguel Angel Fernandez in the decades of 20 and 30, respectively.

The new catalog of ancient objects is kept in a digital database that will facilitate its consultation when investigating as part of this reorganization and the database will have photographic material, drawings of the pieces, a descriptive file and documentary references.

As stated by Martha Cuevas, archaeologist and the director of the Archaeological Collections project on the location, Palenque "has a lengthy history of archaeological investigation along with other disciplines, therefore the interest in having these data gathered in a text, with all the materials captured, drawn and, as much as possible, utilizing three-dimensional scanning."

In line with this, INAH foresees the publication of a set of reports that concentrate on all data from the scans (every single building) established in Palenque, from colonial times to our present-day.

"Our interest is, similarly, to get a printed edition; alternatively, depend on the digitized information so that specialists could have entry to it through the Internet. Various specialists might be enthusiastic about a number of collections in particular and also go straight to the Site Museum and also storages, however with former understanding of their location.

Cuevas said, "The project is ambitious.", as it is often creating regulations for the many different archaeological as well as conservation efforts that take place in Palenque, in the sense of establishing a nomenclature for the management of the parts which have been found and fast transmission to collection catalog.

Another advantage of this revitalization of the Palenque collections is to keep the restructuring of the Museum Site, that allows the restoration of museology and also the use of brand new parts.

Moreover, the updating scheme covers the creation of conservation programs to be upheld for both monuments and objects which are in the buildings.

"Within this endeavor, we plan to make a record employing a three-dimensional scanner of the stucco as well as stone boards which are safeguarded in situ, in pre-Hispanic constructions. The record is going to be utilized for overseeing the condition, and also give precise data on the ancient monuments, which are the grounds for additional study," said Martha Cuevas.


At the same time, archaeologist Jose Luis Cruz, another contributor of this program for the handling of the Palenque archaeological collections; he said that around 3,000 objects, which started this project, came primarily from the Palace Complex and the Temple of Inscriptions.

"The items were mostly obtained from those two places. We try to keep the archaeological goods at their original location; there are actually various other materials which come from the Group of the Cross, and a great part from glyptic cartridges, from Temple XVIII, in the lower area of the long lost Mayan city."


For years, the pieces were sheltered in the Palenque Site Museum old cellar. The initial step in handling them is by source and decoration type, the majority is ornaments which were previously placed on structures: made stucco which represents gods, anthropomorphic faces and also geometric designs.

And then comes their cleaning, consolidation and patching in some cases. Therefore, commences the documentation process simply by marking the item with an individual number, and ultimately packaging the item.

With regards to the entry of the collections in a digital data base, Jose Luis Cruz stated that, in the case of the related parts by their iconography and when it comes to archaeological information, they'll give later on, a 3D model that will help formal analysis performing, without needing to change the pieces.

"The idea aims to better the order the archaeological objects so as to make them searchable and thereby conduct and generate further research for the bachelor, masters as well as a doctoral thesis. More study still needs to be done although the research on a comprehensive study of an archaeological site project has been prolific.", the specialist stated.

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Ditulis oleh: Faisal Reza Siregar - Sunday, November 11, 2012

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