Recorded webinar: Maya ruler King Pakal II of Palenque

‘A veritable Tutankhamun of the New World’

By Ian Mursell, published 27th February 2023

The discovery in 1952 of the tomb of King Pakal II of Palenque has been called the most important archaeological find in the history of the Americas. Protected by a magnificently sculpted stone sarcophagus depicting Pakal’s descent to the underworld and re-birth as the maize god lay the body of the greatest ever Maya king, who lived to be 80 years old and who reigned for over 68 years – almost as long as Queen Elizabeth II and an extraordinary feat for a 7th century ruler. The king’s face was covered by a unique and stunningly beautiful mosaic mask made of over 200 individual pieces of jade – as rare and precious to the ancient Maya as the feathers of the resplendent quetzal. All this may be familiar to you, but did you also know that his mask was stolen from Mexico’s biggest museum in 1985 and disappeared for four years? It was part of Mexico’s ‘robbery of the century’. Ian Mursell, Director of Mexicolore, will reveal all in this webinar.

* Please note: while this webinar has been produced by the Historical Association, any opinions expressed by the presenter(s) are their own and do not necessarily represent HA policy.


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