26 Jun 2011

Video camera reveals inside of Mayan tomb

9:30 am on 26 June 2011

Archaeologists in Mexico have used a tiny video camera to explore a Mayan tomb under a pyramid that had been sealed for 1500 years.

The remote-controlled camera revealed brightly painted murals of human figures, as well as vases and pieces of jade reports the BBC.

The tomb in the Mayan city of Palenque in southern Mexico was discovered in 1999, but archaeologists have not been able to excavate for fear of undermining the pyramid.

Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (Inah) said its archaeologists had been aware of the tomb for more than a decade, but had not been able to examine it.

"Its difficult location and the work to consolidate the plinth had until now impeded penetration into the enclosure, which jealously guards the remains of a very important person from this ancient Mayan city," the Inah said in a statement.

It said that the researchers overcame the difficulties by lowering the remote-controlled camera the size of a matchbox down along a narrow shaft into the largely intact chamber.

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.