Tikal: Great Jaguar Claw's Palace

Great Jaguar Claw's Palace

"At the eastern end of the Central Acropolis there is a very special structure that had an extraordinary history. This building is now known as 5D-46, but when it was built around AD 350, or earlier, it was the clan house of the Jaguar Claw family whose name identified a bloodline and dynasty lasting through to the very demise of Tikal.

Built by the king known as Jaguar Claw 1 (Great Jaguar Claw), this building is one of a very few that has been positively identified as a family residence within the Central Acropolis.

Further, it is the only Early Classic residence that was not partially demolished and covered by a later structure in central Tikal. This evident reverence for the building extended not only to the dynastic residents of the city, but to its enemies as well, during times of defeat and domination.

This building was considered so sacred and so important to the identity of the city that no one dared touch it, other than to make additions and embellishments over time, and certainly, such additions were made."

Peter Harrison, The Lords of Tikal, p. 76-77


Tikal: Great Jaguar Claw's Palace

"The stairways on both the east and west sides contained caches placed when the first building and subsequent renovations were dedicated. Each of the three caches on the east included burials, with the earliest of these probably placed by Toh-Chak-Ich'ak [Jaguar Claw] himself.

The dedicatory cache under the west stairs [shown in photo] contained the most important offering, making possible the identification of the core building as the Toh-Chak-Ich'ak's Palace.

The offering included flint blades and shells arranged next to a beautifully carved cache vessel that contained a figurine, jade medallions, shell, pyrite, and obsidian mosaics...

Linda Schele & Peter Mathews, The Code of Kings, p. 77-8


Cache from under West Stairs of Jaguar Claw's Palace

Dedicatory cache found under the west stairs of Great Jaguar Claw's palace

"The text on this pot reads ali t'ab yotot k'ul nal, bolon tz'akabil ahaw Ch'akte-Xok, Wak Kan Ak K'ul Na, Toh-Chak-Ich'ak, Mutul Ahaw, "They say he ascended to his house, the Holy Place, the ninth successor lord of Ch'akte-Xok, Six-Sky-Turtle Holy Building, True-Great-Jaguar-Claw, Mutul Lord."

This dedication text identifies the owner of the building as Toh-Chak-Ich'ak. He was the ninth king of Mutul [Tikal] and the man who led Mutul to victory over Waxaktun [Uaxactun], although he died on the day of final victory.

His descendants and his vassals greatly honored him by recalling the victory in several texts, by naming at least two later kings after him, and most of all by preserving his palace as the most important lineage shrine in the city."

Linda Schele & Peter Mathews, The Code of Kings, p. 77-8
Tikal Report 25, Part A: The Ceramics of Tikal. The Univ. of Pennsylvania Musuem, 1993. Fig.108