With the intention of both returning Palenque to its former glory, and also establishing the legitimacy of his rule, Pacal initiated the construction of grand monuments throughout the city, with reliefs extolling the virtues of his family line. A number of impressive structures were built, including the Temple of the Count and the large central complex known simply as "The Palace," featuring a peculiar four-story tower unlike any seen throughout the Mayan realm. Yet, of the many edifices assembled during his reign, none surpassed the Temple of Inscriptions. Built to serve as Pacal's burial tomb, construction began on the stepped pyramid during the final years of his life and continued under his successor, Chan Bahlum II.
Featuring intricate carvings and hieroglyphic text, the temple is best known for housing Pacal's ornate sarcophagus. First discovered by Mexican archeologists in 1952, the walls of Pacal's tomb in the lower level of the temple contain the longest set of Mayan glyphs ever found. Although still the subject of interpretation today, the glyphs appear to chronicle the events of Pacal's life leading up to his death and the ascension of his heir.
The sarcophagus itself features an elaborately detailed stone lid with glyphs representing the planets and several constellations. These celestial elements in particular have contributed to controversial theories regarding the involvement of extraterrestrials in the Mayan culture, similar to theories surrounding the ancient Egyptian pyramids. While most esteemed researchers believe the sarcophagus depicts Pacal's journey to the underworld, other sources interpret this imagery as Pacal at the controls of a spaceship preparing for launch. Inside the sarcophagus, archaeologists discovered the skeletal remains of Pacal, wearing a finely crafted jade mosaic in the form of a mask.