King Pacal was an ancient ruler of the Maya.


King Pacal was born in the year 603 and began his rule of the Mayan city-state Palenque in the year 615 at the age of twelve. His ascension to the throne by Mayan reckoning was on the sixth of Lamat. Pacal ruled until his death in 683. He often claimed to be the first true authentic ruler of the Maya, declaring himself a god-king.

A scribe wrote that he only became king because of his powerful mother, Lady Zac Kuk. Angered, Pacal arranged for the unlucky woman to be imprisoned alive in a tomb. Because the scribe was descended from royalty, however, he was not allowed to imprison her soul forever. To adhere to this law, he provided a way to unlock the monolith tomb so her soul may one day escape. In order to open, the monolith had to be unlocked by six keys that Pacal had scattered to the far reaches of his kingdom.


  • Pacal translates to "shield" in the Mayan language.



The replica of Pacal's body at the end of the temple exhibit.

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