Rabbit skull carving on top one of the pyramids
Archaeologists hard at restoration work
Remember I told the story of Popo and Itza? Well, that is the official pose they are depicted at in posters and drawings. Acrylic paintings on cow skin are very popular here as souvenirs, and in Palenque represent many of the original carvings you can find in rooms on top the structures.
And as for the mischief… In the forest, we spotted a few trails that very obviously led to some pyramids, which apparently were not yet open to the public. A clue for that as well might have been a "No Pasar" sign, but we chose to overlook it. We didn't want to get caught and thrown out of the site before we saw everything we were allowed to see, so only when done with everything else, we came back to the forbidden trails and hopped over the flimsy rope that held the sign. As quietly as we could we made our way to the top and there, on the top platform we found our treasure columns and podiums covered in thick black plastic. Convinced there must be something extraordinarily interesting under the covers, we lifted and searched until we found a lizard and eventually uncovered one column with what looked like an amazingly preserved bas relief of a warrior! The fading natural paint was almost all intact and I was in seventh heaven. We left feeling very pleased with ourselves, thinking Indiana Jones would be too. Even getting caught wasn't going to be that bad right now, and I told the others that if anyone asks, we just took a wrong turn in the jungle. Luckily, Mexicans are not as uptight as some others, and though we did encounter a guard, he only gave us a disapproving look, and when we attempted a turn towards yet another forbidden pyramid, he called at us and we played the "Oh! That's not the way out? Alright then sir, thanks for pouting us back on the right path. Ever so grateful."
Here is the real punch line, though. After seeing the site, we went for a glimpse of the museum where we found… a twin of our amazingly preserved bas relief of a warrior! What we must have seen was probably just a replica, and the real weathered relic was right here, in the museum, this whole time. Nonetheless, sneaking around in an archaeological site was loads of fun.
In the Museum