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Mexican archeologists keep making exciting discoveries. Last year members of INAH (the National Anthropology Institute) successfully managed to insert a small robot in a tunnel deep inside a pyramid in Teotihuacan. Now another group of researchers managed to capture images of a burial chamber in the mayan capital of Palenque, sealed for the last 1500 years, by using a tiny videocamera the size of a matchbox:

[BBC News]Inside, the camera revealed nine black figures painted on blood-red walls, along with jade and shell fragments, which are believed to be part of a funerary costume.

But unlike in other tombs in Palenque, no sarcophagus has been found. "It is very probable that the fragmented bones are lying directly on the stones of the floor," Inah said. Experts say the tomb probably dates to between AD431 and 550, and could belong to the first ruler of Palenque – K’uk Bahlam I.

Another theory is that it could even belong to Ix Yohl Ik’nal, the city’s early female ruler. Archaeologist Martha Cuevas said the tomb’s proximity to other burial sites suggested it may be part of a royal necropolis.

The city of Palenque, located in the southeast of Mexico, gathered international attention thanks to the tomb of another Mayan leader, lord Pakal, and Erick Von Dรคniken’s theory that the monolithic burial slab that covered his tomb was evidence of extraterrestrial visitors in the ancient past. This new burial chamber would be even older, though.

Considering Mexican scientists operate on a shoestring budget compared to the rest of their colleagues, findings like these are real credit to them; and it also shows that what’s been discovered so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

To learn more about this new discovery, check this video at the BBC website.

[Thanks to Susan]