Ancient Mexican crystal skulls in British, US museums may not be authentic

May 24th, 2008 - 12:50 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 24 (ANI): A British Museum skull that appears in Steven Spielbergs new film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and a larger white quartz skull from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC do not belong to ancient Mexico, according to new research.

The academics behind the research believe that the British skull was made in 19th century Europe, while the American skull was made even more recently.

The British skull is a life-size carving from a single block of rock crystal.

When the British Museum bought its skull from Tiffany and Company in New York in 1897, its origins were unknown.

It was suggested at that time that the skull was of ancient Mexican origin.

However, when an international research examined the two skulls using a technique called electron microscope analysis, they found that both skulls were carved with rotary disc-shaped tool, which the Ancient Mexicans did not have.

Analysis of the quartz in the British Museum skull suggests it was quarried from Brazil or Madagascar, far outside the Ancient Mexicans trading links.

The observations by experts from Cardiff University, the British Museum, the Smithsonian and Kingston University drove them to conclude that neither skull could have been made in Mexico before the time of Columbus.

The researchers believe that the the British skull was created in Europe in the 19th century, and the Smithsonians shortly before it was bought in Mexico City in 1960.

Professor Ian Freestone, of Cardiff Universitys School of History and Archaeology, said: It is always disappointing when an intriguing artefact like a crystal skull turns out not to be genuine. However, it is important to be precise about what is authentic and what is fake if we are properly to understand our past. Maybe Indiana Jones will have better luck in his hunt for a real crystal skull!

The study has been reported in the Journal of Archaeological Science. (ANI)

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