Ruins Of Palexque, remarkable aboriginal remains on the Rio Chacamas in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, 8 m. S. E. of Santo Domingo de Palenque. They consist of artificial terraces, or terraced, truncated pyramids, of cut stone, surmounted by edifices of elaborate plan, covered with figures and hieroglyphics in relief or in stucco, and showing evidences of having once been painted in brilliant colors. The principal structure, known as the palace, stands on a truncated terraced pyramid, faced with cut stone, 310 ft. long and 260 ft. broad at the base, and 40 ft. high. It is 228 ft. long, 180 ft. deep, and 25 ft. high, with a broad, projecting cornice of stone. It is constructed of cut stones cemented with a mortar of lime and sand, and the entire face was once covered with stucco and painted. The piers are ornamented with bass reliefs in stucco, with borders of hieroglyphics, which show a better knowledge of the anatomy of the human figure than has been found among the other works of the aboriginal nations of America. In one of the courts are a number of stucco tablets, and one of stone which represents a figure seated cross-legged, after the manner of Buddha in some of the Hindoo sculptures and paintings, on a seat carved with the figures of jaguars, before which kneels another figure, richly dressed, in the act of presenting some object highly ornamented.
There are several hiero-glyphical figures on the tablet, below which are traces of a table of stone, perhaps an altar. Another building is 75 ft. long and 25 ft. deep, with solid walls on all sides except the north, which has five doorways and six piers. The whole front is richly ornamented in stucco, and the two corner piers are covered with hieroglyphics, 96 squares to each pier. The four piers dividing the doorways are ornamented with female figures, well executed, surrounded with borders of hieroglyphics. There are three inner rooms, with a corresponding number of doorways, between which are massive stone tablets set in the wall, 13 ft. long and 8. ft. high, covered with hieroglyphics, 240 squares or combined figures in each. In another structure a tablet exhibits a group of human figures, apparently in the act of making a solemn sacrifice. There are other similar structures with tablets covered with human figures in relief and hieroglyphics, some of which seem to have been dedicated to religious purposes, while most of them probably were dwellings, each inhabited by a number of families.
The pavements are skilfully constructed of large blocks of stone. - The ruins were discovered by the Spaniards in 1750, explored by Bernasconi in 1784, by Del Rio in 1787, and by Du Paix in 1807, whose account was published in 1834. In 1822 M. Frederic de 'Waldeck started for the exploration of the ruins, and during a stay of several years made many elaborate drawings and plans. In 1840 they were explored by J. L. Stephens and F. Catherwood, and their account, illustrated with drawings and plans, was soon after published. (See Stephens's "Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan," and Catherwood's "Views of Ancient Monuments in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan.") They were visited in 1846 by Arthur Morelet, who published Voyage dans l'Amerique Cen-trale (Paris, 1857; translated into English, "Itza, or the Unexplored Region of Central America," New York, 1860).