Elton John on Collision Course with Archaeology at Chichen Itza?

December 18th, 2009 by ejalbright

Elton John at Chichen Itza April 3, 2010

[UPDATED AT BOTTOM]

Recent archaeological discoveries at Chichen Itza may imperil the Elton John concert scheduled for April next year, a Yucatecan news service reports.

According to Tribuna, recent excavations in Great Platform next to the giant pyramid El Castillo may mean the April 3, 2010 concert with Sir Elton John will have to be cancelled.

The news report quotes Rafael Cobos Palma, general coordinator of archaeology at Chichen Itza and leader of the “Grand Leveling” project which is digging throughout Chichen Itza to determine how the ancient city evolved.

The various pits that have been excavated in the Great Platform are not far from where the concert will be staged. Cobos reportedly told Tribuna that these pits will not be filled by the time of the concert as there is still much to be learned from them. Currently a multi-disciplinary team from INAH, the federal agency in charge of Mexico’s ruins, and Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, a university in Merida, are studying the data from the digging which began in February. Furthermore, the pits will likely never be filled, given the “didactic and academic importance” of the substructures that have been exposed, and how they demonstrate the importance of Chichen Itza as a Maya cosmopolitan city.

Cobos’s comments have to date only been reported in Tribuna. However, it is well known that leadership at INAH has long opposed holding concerts at Chichen Itza but has consistently been ignored by other agencies, both state and federal. When it was announced that Placido Domingo was to perform at Chichen Itza in fall of 2008, INAH’s advisory committee openly opposed the concert, but only managed to win concessions restricting the size of the concert and the construction of the stage.

In the meantime, tickets have gone on sale for the Elton John concert at Chichen Itza. They are currently only available in Mexico and only by telephone, (+42) 999/942-19-33 and (+42) 999/942-19-31. The prices for tickets are similar to October’s Sarah Brightman concert, $10,000 (Mexican pesos), $7,500, $5,000, $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000.

[UPDATE] Tribuna reports that it has spoken with officials in Cultur, the agency in Yucatan state government sponsoring the concert, and they have said that excavation at Chichen Itza will not affect the concert, as it is being held in the same place where the Sarah Brightman concert in October was performed, between El Castillo and the Great Ball Court. The excavation has been conducted on the other side of El Castillo, between the giant pyramid and the Temple of the Warriors.

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