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Mayan Crystal Skull Mystery: Ritual Props of the Priests or Archaeological Fake
Mayan Crystal Skull Mystery: Ritual Props of the Priests or Archaeological Fake
Mayan Crystal Skull Mystery: Ritual Props of Priests or Archaeological Fake

It was an early summer morning on the Yucatan Peninsula. Archaeologists who excavated an ancient Mayan temple had recently woken up and were just about to start work. But the youngest participant in this expedition, a girl named Anna, was already near the destroyed altar found the day before and was working with might and main with a brush. On this day, she turned 17 years old, and she dreamed of finding something unusual in the excavation - for her it would be the best gift. And Anna's dream came true.

This artifact has haunted scientists for almost half a century

Another movement of the brush - and something smooth and shiny in the sun emerged from the ground. A few more minutes of excavation - and the girl was already holding a truly amazing find in her hands. A human skull made of the purest rock crystal!

This is how the ancient Mayan city on the Yucatan Peninsula looks now

This is exactly how Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the adopted daughter of the famous archaeologist and even more famous adventurer and fraudster Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges, described the find of the most famous, but far from the only crystal skull, one of the artifacts, the origin of which scientists still cannot explain.

Many skulls, even more mysteries …

In addition to this skull, at least twelve more were found in different years. Each of them is carved from a solid rock crystal, and mineralogists are unable to explain how this was done: in their opinion, if the crystal is cut in such directions, it should split into pieces. Similarly, scientists do not understand how the skulls were polished - their surface is perfectly smooth, but there are no traces of processing on it. And another oddity is noted by many who deal with these artifacts: according to their stories, next to the skulls there are vivid, realistic dreams about the life of the ancient Indians, and sometimes even visions occur in reality.

Albert Frederick Mitchell-Hedges at the excavation

If you direct a beam of light on a crystal skull, you can get an unusual and even frightening effect: the light will burst from the eye sockets or from the mouth. Because of these effects, scientists have suggested that these artifacts were used by Indian priests during religious rituals. If, of course, the skulls were really made by Indians in ancient times, and are not fakes created at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Mitchell-Hedges (right), his daughter and excavation assistant in Yucatan

Confusion in "testimony"

And this opinion is also quite widespread among specialists in various antiquities. It appeared in the 70s of the last century, almost immediately after Anna Mitchell-Hedges showed the crystal skull to historians and told reporters about how she found it. This was after the death of her adoptive father, and many were surprised that he and Anna did not announce their discovery immediately after returning from Yucatan and kept it secret for so long. Anna explained this by the fact that Frederick Albert feared that the skull would not be appropriated by the sponsors of his expeditions, but the journalists decided to check her words and discovered new oddities. It turned out that in 1943 at Sotheby's auction, a British antique dealer named Sidney Breni sold a crystal skull, and the buyer of this lot was none other than Frederick Albert Mitchell-Hedges.

Anna began to make excuses that after the expedition her father needed money and sold Bernie's skull himself, and then bought it back.But since she had not said anything about this before, she no longer had her previous trust. Moreover, the story of the discovery of the skull on her birthday looked too beautiful and romantic coincidence - it looked more like her daughter of an archaeologist also came up with in order to attract more attention to the crystal artifact.

It is also impossible to fake them

Now, most scientists are almost sure that dad and daughter lied about how the crystal skull fell into their hands. But the rest of the questions regarding this and other skulls remain open. If Mitchell-Hedges did not sell Bernie's skull, where did the antique dealer get it from? Was it found during excavations by some other archaeologist or was it cut out of crystal by an unknown craftsman who lived at the beginning of the 20th century? And if all the crystal skulls are fakes, it is still unclear how they were created?

According to the majority of mineralogists, it was impossible to grind and polish an object of such a complex shape from their crystal, even with the help of tools that existed in the middle of the twentieth century. The smooth surface of the skulls amazed scientists even more than their shape: art critic Frank Dordland, for example, wrote that such smoothness can be achieved only by polishing the crystal with wet sand for … several hundred years!

Not all skulls are perfect

In addition to thirteen large skulls of regular shape, at the end of the twentieth century, small transparent skulls began to appear, as well as flattened and twisted skulls of various sizes. They were sold in souvenir shops in Central America, and were sometimes found by farmers plowing fields or digging a foundation pit to build a house. Some of them are definitely forgeries made of glass, while the rest of the researchers doubt …

Crystal skulls are very different …

Or are they fakes?

In 2007, the three largest crystal skulls were examined again, and the scientists involved unexpectedly announced that they have traces of processing on their surfaces that could have been carried out in the 20th century. But since no research had ever found such traces before, many scientists refused to recognize these results and still insist that these artifacts may be "native" from ancient times and have properties unknown to science.

One of the last photographs of Anna Mitchell-Hedges with the most famous crystal skull

And in continuation of the theme of historical mysteries 10 unexpected archaeological finds that allow you to look at history from a new angle.

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