A look back at the history of faux crystal skulls

Fake Aztec crystal skulls are in the collections of some museums, says Boingboing.net . They may all be the work of one person.

For some of us, the story of the Aztec crystal skulls begins and ends with Indiana Jones. Others see them as objects that impact real life. These mysterious skulls would indeed have healing and psychic powers. Regardless, despite the movies and the hype that plagues both the internet and mainstream media, no one has so far managed to extract even a single skull from an archaeological site. Obviously, the crystal skulls that are currently in some exhibition places are therefore all fakes. The first doubts about their authenticity emerged in the 90s when an anthropologist by the name of Jane Walsh began to develop suspicions about their origin.

A look back at the history of faux crystal skulls

Photo by Alfred Koop – Pixabay.com

She was indeed able to examine a so-called Aztec crystal skull donated by an anonymous donor to the Smithsonian Institution.

Multiple clues discovered in the 90s

Walsh already knew that crystal skulls were of interest to a large number of people. She was also aware of their fuzzy side. While analyzing the artifact delivered by the U.S. Postal Service to the Smithsonian Institution, she uncovered numerous clues suggesting it was a fake.

“It was way too big. The proportions were shifted. The teeth and circular depressions in the temples did not look correct. Overall, it seemed too rounded and polished, ” Walsh and Brett Topping wrote in their post titled: The Man Who Invented Aztec Crystal Skulls: The Adventures of Eugene Boban, explains Discover magazine .

Creations by Eugène Boban?

Some clues were confirmed later. Following scientific analysis, it has been proven that the crystal skulls were cut with modern rotary tools and were made with rock sourced from Brazil rather than Mexico, the latter being considered the cradle of Aztec civilization.

To determine the true origins of the artifacts, Walsh began by analyzing a 2-inch crystal skull belonging to the Smithsonian Institution. This one apparently came out of the collections of a Mexican museum in the late 1800s. Further researching, she discovered a document written in the 1950s by a geologist named William Foshag.

The document in question revealed that the object was a forgery. Foshag's investigation led to the identification of a potential suspect: a Frenchman named Eugène Boban. It turns out that he had tried to sell a fake crystal skull at the National Museum of Mexico in the late 19th century. In 1897, Boban would have provided some to the British Museum.

A warning for future generations

At the time, museums were struggling to determine the authenticity of some artefacts. Instead of evolving in expectation, they preferred to call in specialists. And some would have turned to Boban. Considering the latter to be an expert in crystal skulls, these museums apparently got the wrong partner.

In 1900, the French collector even made a statement warning future generations: “Many pre-Columbian crystal skulls were so skillfully crafted that they almost defied detection. They have been found to be authentic by experts from some of Europe's leading museums. "