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Jun 19, 2010

The famous crystal skull is a fake and it was never in Belize

A lot of antiquities and treasures have been looted from Maya temples across the country.  While many artifacts continue to be illegally smuggled out of the country, quite a few were legally removed when Belize was still a colony under the expansive arms of the British Empire.  The following report is about one antiquity that many Belizeans, including one government office, has requested to be returned. That object, the crystal skull, came under close scrutiny over the past few years, and the experts confirm that the famous skull was neither of Mayan origin nor was it ever found in Belize.  News Five traced the history of the skull.

Jose Sanchez, reporting

The legend of the crystal skull suggests that in 1922 it was found in Lubaantun by Anna Guillon Hedges, the daughter of explorer, Mitchell Hedges.

Dr. Jaime Awe, Director, Institute of Archaeology

“Most of the research we’ve done indicates that the skull is a genuine piece of art—there is no question about that. It is produced from a single piece of quartz crystal. The mandible is produced from a separate piece and fitted to the rest of the skull. However that it is prehistoric Mayan origin, we believe that the evidence indicates that it is not so. That it was bought somewhere in Europe, the evidence indicates that it was. And that this gentleman, Mike Mitchell Hedges, decides to claim—he worked at Lubaantun; there is no question about that—but there is no evidence that his daughter was ever there. And all indications are that to legitimize this object, he claimed that it was discovered at Lubaantun.”

In fact in there were several crystal skulls, all proven to be fakes.  They were all traced back to Eugène Boban, a dealer in pre-Columbian art.  Documentation has shown that Mitchell Hedges, long after his visit to Lubaantun in 1922, bought the “Skull of Doom” as it is sometimes called, in 1944 from a London art dealer.

Jose Sanchez

“Do you think those people who still believe it should be returned to us, now it’s time for them to give up the ghost?”

Dr. Jaime Awe

Dr Jaime Awe

“Well you know, my feeling is that if these people still want to claim that they found it here, then fine, give it back to Belize. And we’ve certainly indicated that in the past. One of my predecessors, Mister Harriet Topsey, who was the head of archaeology, actually visited Anna Mitchell Hedges when she was still alive in Canada, and asked if she would bequeath it at her death back to Belize. But you know, she married this younger American gentleman and when she died, he is now in possession of it.”

Jose Sanchez

“So that is the tale of the crystal skull. But nonetheless there are still objects out there in the world and different museums that were taken, if not stolen from Belize. Is that not so?”

Dr. Jaime Awe

“Without a doubt, some objects have left Belize legally because in the past that was something that was allowed. There are a lot more things that have left Belize and that are still leaving Belize as we speak illegal. And N.I.C.H. and the Institute of Archaeology are making every effort to try to development an agreement with several countries that if these objects are confiscated that they be repatriated to Belize.”

Though artifacts have been stolen from the country, the best of the Maya world is still visible at the sites.  Doctor Awe says that an upcoming symposium will discuss the recent discoveries and lessons learned about the Maya.

Dr. Jaime Awe

“At the end of this month, we’re gonna be having our national annual archaeology symposium and this year it is going to be here in San Ignacio Town. There again we were talking about trying to encourage people to learn about the past. Well we want to invite people to come there because this is where we talk about things like the crystal skull, and where we talk about new discoveries in archaeology in Belize, where we talk about the great achievements of ancient Maya.”

Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

The legend of the skull reached Hollywood, and the supposed magic powers of the ‘skull of doom’ became the inspiration for the movie: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “The famous crystal skull is a fake and it was never in Belize”

  1. maddyvandijk says:

    it was quite surprising to hear that the skull was found in belize centuries ago, now we are not surprised to hear that it is nothing but a fake.

    The evidence proved that skull was designed by modern tool, and not the tools used by the maya’s at the time.

    as for mitchell and his daughter………………..they can keep the skull, they deserve it.

  2. macal rivera says:

    mitchell hedges and his daughter just wanted to become famous and get rich!!!
    I always thought and believe th crystal skull was fiction!!!!

    All like my jade head, now you di tak, dat da fi real!!!

  3. fakesaysawe says:

    so why is NICH now suiing for the skull if it is fake? Please explain i am in awe, Awe.

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