the more I learn how little I know.
|Figure 1 - Map showing directional water flow.|
|Figure 2 - Interior of the overflow drain, northeast corner.|
|Figure 3 - Monumental Staircase of the Main Picota Pool.|
The floor of the pool is comprised of a 10-15 cm layer of sand atop bedrock. The sand’s origin is unknown as Palenque is devoid of the material. Although it's possible the sand may be the result of the degassing (i.e. the bubbling) through the solid calcium carbonate on the bedrock floor. Analysis of the sand is currently underway.
The nine stairs leading into the pool also indicate an element of ritual as this could be emblematic of the nine Lords of the Night (G1-G9). Let's also not forget that the pool is below the water table, it's actually underground. The Palencanos may have viewed the pool as a symbolic (or actual) opening into the watery underworld – similar in the reverence held for the sacred cenotes of the northern Yucatan.
Lastly, if you refer back to the map from Figure 1 you will notice that all three pools in the Picota Group have conduits that bring water in and out of the aqueduct/stream. Now I'm sure there's a symbolic reason for combining the flowing water from the stream with the still water of the pools, but I haven't settled on an explanation for that just yet. However, over the last several months I did notice a functional reason for bringing water in and out of the pool – cleaning. Introducing water from the Picota Stream creates circulation, allowing for debris to easily exit via the overflow drain. Anyone who has ever owned a swimming pool is familiar with this concept. And no, we did not find a diving board or slide during our excavations.
|Figure 4 - The Spring of San Juan in Chamula|
The Picota Aqueduct
|Figure 5 - A collapsed capstones of the Picota Aqueduct.|
|Figure 6 - The Picota Plaza, flooded after one night of heavy rain.|
|Figure 7 - A heavily eroded section of the Picota Aqueduct.|
The aqueduct is on the left, the eroded section is on the right.
|The Picota Pool at the end of Season 1.|