Freedom8 Mesoamerica


is reachable by vehicle from Palenque. The trip is about 100 kilometers of sometimes very slow and arduous driving. Bonampak was a very large city from the Classic period and is famous for its brilliant murals depicting 8th century Mayan court life, ritual and battle. The murals were preserved for centuries by a coating of calcite washed down from the ceilings. Sacrificial victims are prominent in some of the murals. Computer-assisted reproductions are on display in museums in Mexico City and Villahermosa. Other features include its remote location, jungle vegetation, and abundant wildlife. The acropolis is famous for its three rooms, which contain the mural paintings. These paintings are the best preserved and most important ones we have from the Mayan Classic. Some experts believe that the murals tell one story of a battle, through its aftermath, and to the celebration of the victory.
The settlement, which reached its peak development in the Late Classic, between 600 and 800 A.D., is of moderate proportions when compared with great Mayan centers such as Palenque and Yaxchilán. In fact, Bonampak may have depended politically and culturally on Yaxchilán. The ruins consist of three large architectural groups. On the Great Plaza and the stairway which leads to the acropolis, are several stelae inscribed with long-count dates between 782 and 791 A. D.