Archaeologists have “explored” a 1,500 year old Mayan tomb using a small camera lowered down a narrow shaft. The tomb, which is believed to have belonged to one of the first rulers of the great Mexican city-state of Palenque, could not be excavated in the normal manner because the pyramid above it is badly deteriorated.

The video reveals that the tomb was decorated with paintings in black on a blood-red background. Fragments of jade and shells, believed to have been part of a funerary costume, are visible on the floor.

The tomb is considered historically important because most early structures are buried under later constructions from the time of Palenque’s greatest power. Some experts believe it may be the burial place of the city-state’s first ruler, K’uk’ Bahlam I, while other suggest it could be the tomb of an important female ruler, Ix Yohl Ik’nal.

This video is from News Distribution Network, posted June 24, 2011.