Archive for May, 2007

For Technorati and for God

May 31st, 2007 by ejalbright

Technorati Profile

That is all.

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Chichen Itza Ownership “Muy Complejo,” Says INAH Official

May 31st, 2007 by ejalbright

There are discussions at the federal level to arrange for a land swap, exchanging other property for the land under the ancient city of Chichen Itza, which has been owned by the Barbachano family of Yucatan for more than 60 years.

Unlike the political propaganda being spouted regularly in the pages in La Jornada, Monterey’s El Porvenir newspaper went right to the source–that is, the director of Mexico’s INAH (National Institute for Anthropology and History)–and asked him about ownership at Chichen Itza.

Alfonso de María y Campos, national director for INAH, said ownership of Chichen Itza is particularly complicated because the ancient city was privately owned before it became an official site of national patrimony.

“There were attempts last year to buy those lands at prices established by federal authorities but it was not possible to do it”, the INAH director told the newspaper.

The situation has become more serious because in the last month there have bloomed new construction of tourist hotels and complexes around Chichen Itza.

“This year we are thinking about developing a new strategy to acquire the property with the participation of public associations,” he said. There are efforts underway to arrange for an exchange of property, and several parcels have already been identified, he said.

Chichen Itza is not the only archaeological zone that borders populated areas, which puts all of them at risk, he said.

The rest of the article, in Spanish, can be found here.

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Vota Chichen Itza!

May 30th, 2007 by ejalbright

Here’s a clever little video about voting for Chichen Itza to be one of the new Wonders of the World. See how it stacks up against the competition.

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The Real Tomb Raiders

May 29th, 2007 by ejalbright

National Public Radio looks at the Maya’s disappearing heritage at the hands of grave robbers. Among the highlights:

The article opens at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, where the cafe is decorated with 8-foot-tall carved stela of a Mayan king that was probably stolen from Guatemala. The thief supposedly was a Mexican logger “who sawed off the carvings and hauled them out on muleback” back in the 1960s, before international law banned buying of artifacts, the article states.

The story then quotes Dr. David Freidel of Southern Methodist University and describes his efforts to protect Maya sites in Peten province from looters.

You can read the article here (via AZTLAN).

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Maya to Perform Sun Ceremony at Stonehenge

May 29th, 2007 by ejalbright

Hamba’kan, a Maya cultural group, will replace the Druids for two nights beginning May 30, and conduct a sun ceremony at Stonehenge.

The performance is one of the activities of the Salisbury International Arts Festival. According to organizers, it will be the first time a Maya ceremony has been conducted in Europe. Hamba’kan will perform traditional Maya music using tunkuls (a Maya drum) and other traditional instruments. The ceremony both days will begin at dusk.

Stonehenge is one of 21 sites around the world vying for recognition to be named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Chichen Itza, the great Maya city, is also in the running. No plans have been announced to have Druids reciprocate by performing in front of El Castillo.

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Sister Cities: Chichen Itza and Tula

May 28th, 2007 by ejalbright

The great author, Carlos Fuentes, narrated a documentary about the development of the great Mexican civilizations. This clip is from an episode in the the limited series, “The Soul of Mexico.” The first five minutes of this clip demonstrate the similarities between Chichen Itza, in Yucatan, and Tula, in the interior of Mexico.

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May 27th, 2007 by ejalbright

Steadily this Web site is getting into shape for its June 1 launch. As it is already up and running, perhaps the word “launch” is not quite accurate. “Debut?” “Formal unveilling?” “Coming out?”

Over the past week the following changes were made:

  • Added the About Us pages: About the Book, About the Authors, and Useful Links.
    In “Ancient Cities of the Maya,” rebuilt Chris Reeves’ “Shadow of the Equinox” page and put it up; also, added pages for Akab D’zib and Chichen Viejo.
    Backfilled the daily blog by importing entries from December through May.
  • This week I’ll finish and put up the Visitor Guide pages, and, if there is time, put up the pages for Uxmal and the other archaeological zones in “Ancient Cities of the Maya.”

    Sitting man

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    Victim of Its Own Success

    May 25th, 2007 by ejalbright

    As the government of Mexico is spending a million pesos to promote El Castillo to be the next Wonder of the World, the archaeologists at INAH seem to be spending an equal time warning of the consequences.

    INAH is warning that if Chichen Itza becomes too popular as a tourist destination that there will be no choice but to limit the number of visitors who can get into the archaeological zone, Chichen Director Eduardo Perez de Heredia told Anahi Rama of Reuters.

    The Mexican government’s campaign is apparently working, because Chichen now stands at second in the voting.

    “The site’s directors are proud that Chichen Itza is a front-runner among the 20 places in the vote — including the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, Stonehenge and the Sydney Opera House — but worry about what success might bring,” Reuters wrote.

    Being named a world wonder is going to create an influx, Perez de Heredia said, and “is going to oblige us to implement restrictions because there is a limit of 1.5 million visitors per year which cannot be passed.”

    You can read the rest of the Reuters article here.

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    Chichen Viejo May Open in 2008

    May 24th, 2007 by ejalbright

    When touring Chichen Itza, most visitors go no further south than Las Monjas (the Nunnery). But only a few hundred meters beyond are some of the important buildings in the entire ancient city, in an area known as “Chichen Viejo.”

    According to INAH’s director at Chichen Itza, Eduardo Perez de Herredia, and the lead archaeologist at the site, Peter Schmidt, there are discussions to open some of Chichen VIejo in 2008, reports La Jornada. INAH archaeologists have been restoring many of the buildings in Chichen Viejo for the past 10 years.

    chichen viejo

    The INAH archaeologists report that the restoration work has resulted in several discoveries. An enormous circular altar in the shape of a turtle, complete with head, legs and tale, was uncovered and has been reassembled almost intact. A structure of this type has not been found elsewhere in the Maya world.

    Archaeologists also found a frieze more than 20 meters long, intricately carved with images of birds and flowers, as well as penises.

    Temple of the Phallus

    “The advantage of this group of monuments is that it has been isolated for a long time, and for that reason was not mistreated,” Schmidt, who has worked Chichen Itza for 30 years, told La Jornada. “It is a very rich group. Yes there were earlier excavations, but practically all of them discovered nothing.”

    There are almost two dozen buildings, which include temples dedicated to monkeys, owls, and the phallus. ”It is a suburban center, a residential group related to nobility,” Schmidt said.

    The group of buildings are mounted on a terrace of 150 by 125 meter. It is surrounded by a wall, La Jornada reports, and is divided in buildings, temples, and palaces. Outside the terrace there is a habitacional area for the population that was in charge of the services,” Schmidt told La Jornada.

    Archaeologists still need to investigate the organization of the economic life, he said.

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    Mexican Government Throws $1 million to Chichen Campaign

    May 23rd, 2007 by ejalbright

    The Mexican government will spend $1 million (Mexican) on its campaign to get Chichen Itza’s El Castillo named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

    El Universal’s Alexander Jiménez repeated a report that money will be spent on the “Vota por Chichen Itza!” campaign, which includes telephone cards, Coca Cola cans and the Internet world Second Life.

    Jimenez was reporting on the first meeting of the governing body of the Council of Tourist Promotion of Mexico (CPTM). The council’s president, Francisco Lopez Mena, said that despite the bad publicity regarding crime and drugs in Mexican visitor locations, overall tourism is up across the nation.

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