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Red Queen Essay

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The tomb of the Red Queen was discovered in 1994 in Chiapas, Mexico, where it had lain untouched for thirteen centuries (Discovery Channel, 2005). Her tomb is located within the complex containing the Temple of the Inscriptions at Palenque (Tiesler, 2004, p. 82). Temple XIII, the structure that houses it, stands to the right of the Temple of the Inscriptions, where Pacal II was buried with very similar funerary details, including an abundance of the red pigment cinnabar (mercury sulfide), which was applied to the skin in layers and the placement of their remains in the only limestone sarcophagi found within the mayan cities to date (Discovery Channel, 2005). The tomb is located at the center of the temple. The flesh of the Red Queen’s body, quite possibly Pacal II’s wife Tz’ak-b’u Ajaw (Tiesler, 2004, p. 82) had decomposed, leaving only her skeleton, in what is believed to be her original resting place. Regardless of her relationship to Pacal II, the placement of her…show more content…
In the burial chamber, outside of the sarcophagus and parallel to the Red Queen’s body were the bodies of a boy and a young woman who was lying face down (Tiesler, 2004, p. 82). The boy had been decapitated and the young woman’s heart had been extracted while she was alive, both are congruent with typical Maya blood sacrifices. The positioning of their bodies, and the very small space for these two bodies has led archeologists to question whether they were originally intended as part of the funerary ritual (Tiesler, 2004, p. 82). The presence of cinnabar and the precious stones are strong indicators of the Red Queen’s importance. Cinnabar in particular produced the red color that the Mayans used to give life to sacred spaces, and would only have been used on someone of great importance (Discovery Channel,
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