Crystal skull sought by Indiana Jones may be fake!

May 24th, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 24 (IANS) Had Indiana Jones known, he might not have wasted time and effort chasing the crystal skull in his latest movie adventure. It could well be a fake. Researchers suggest that two well-known crystal skulls — housed in the British Museum and Smithsonian Institution, might not have originated in ancient Mexico — as popularly believed.

They have reasons to believe the British skull was made in 19th century Europe and the American one even more recently - maybe after 1950.

The British Museum bought the life-sized skull, carved out of a single block of rock crystal, from Tiffany and Company in New York in 1897. There were suggestions then that it was of ancient Mexican origin.

Crystal skulls have since featured in many books, articles and films, most recently in the new Steven Spielberg movie ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’.

Doubts about the authenticity of the skull since 1930s prompted an investigation, using the latest scientific techniques, of the British Museum skull and the larger, white-quartz skull donated to Smithsonian Institution in 1992.

Electron microscope analysis for tool marks found both skulls were carved with rotary disc-shaped tool - a technology 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 team, made up of experts from Cardiff University, British Museum, Smithsonian and Kingston University, concluded that neither skull could have been made in Mexico before the time of Columbus.

They believe the British skull was created in Europe in the 19th century, and the Smithsonian’s shortly before it was bought in Mexico City in 1960.

Ian Freestone, of Cardiff University’s School of History and Archaeology, said: “It is always disappointing when an intriguing artefact like a crystal skull turns out not to be genuine.

“Maybe Indiana Jones will have better luck in his hunt for a real crystal skull!”

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