The Palenque Pool Project: Sourcing the Sand from the Main Picota Pool

Author(s): Elijah Hermitt; Kirk French

Year: 2015


Many sites in the Maya Lowlands relied heavily on water storage features in order to sustain the annual dry season. However, in Palenque the opposite challenge was presented, as there was an abundance of perennial water flowing through the city. Palenque’s ancient name of Lakamha’ or Big Water was indicative of this issue. In response, there were intricate water management systems constructed in order to divert the water underground through aqueducts. In May of 2014, the Palenque Pool Project began excavation and consolidation of the largest pool in the Picota Group, about 1 kilometer west of the site center. Although the function of the pool will likely forever remain a mystery, its placement adjacent to one of Palenque's two stelae and its similarity to modern Maya examples, suggests ceremonial use. Beneath an approximate 40 cm of mud and debris lies a 10 cm layer of sand atop the bedrock floor. Being that Palenque is devoid of the granular material it must have been imported. A series of tests, including X-ray fluorescence (XRF), were utilized in determining the sand’s origin. This poster outlines our results.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

The Palenque Pool Project: Sourcing the Sand from the Main Picota Pool. Elijah Hermitt, Kirk French. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397863)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;