Mystery of the British Museum’s Crystal Skull: Why its not a fake, but many wish it were

It was one of the things I most wanted to see in London—the famous crystal skull at the British Museum. The idea that an ancient civilization was able to carve such a fine sculpture out of quartz without obvious machining marks in the 14th century, or even before, is quite remarkable so I wanted to see it for myself.   The artifact is famous because it is one of the few of its kind in the world and it was acquired by the British Museum at that magical time of early archaeology when the British empire still held sway and was able to gather important items around the world before a new generation of politics and war would further destroy the art and relics of the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas—especially in Mexico where their Mexican Revolution at the start of the 20th Century has all but destroyed their economy leaving the people there impoverished.  If any crystal skulls were found today in those regions they would without question be in private collections sold off by locals who needed to feed themselves.  It was remarkable that the crystal skull featured here even made it to the British Museum as it was acquired from the Tiffany and Co. from New York in 1897 after being owned originally by Eughen Boban who was an early fortune hunter able to gather up objects from digs before the Smithsonian, and the British Museum were able to lay claim to the historic record.  For something that old, it certainly couldn’t have seen modern methods of cutting a quartz structure so for anybody to go to such trouble to make a crystal skull there had to be a good reason for it.crystal-skull

The skull is in the “living and dying” wing of the museum stuck away in the corner much the way that the Cincinnati Tablet is at the Museum Center in my home town of Cincinnati—they really don’t know what to do with it because it doesn’t fit their narrative of a primitive people. In Cincinnati the tablet doesn’t fit the profile of the Adena Indians and at the British Museum which many contributes have already laid claim to their version of history and feel they possess the narrative of history by being the first to report it—the crystal skull is sort of a mystery—so they put it in the corner of the room leaving it in limbo.  In fact it was so unobtrusive I had to ask where it was.  I found a museum worker who pointed it out to me then felt the need to let me know that the skull was a “fake” which irritated me greatly.  There was no need for the additional commentary, but the guy felt he needed to make sure I knew his opinion of the crystal skull which revealed a lot about what I had long suspected about this particular museum.

The collection at the British Museum is one of the finest in the world and it could be argued that their imperialism which acquired all the artifacts there robbed the home countries of their “birth rights” to those cultures. But as we’ve seen in Cairo, Baghdad and other places around the world, especially in Mexico City where the ruins of an Aztec civilization were literally buried underneath—new cultures usually destroy old cultures and the British Museum was able to save those artifacts in time because of their audacity to take them from their domestic lands—which were unstable to the historical record.  The museum has an extensive membership list that is very active, and they depend on their donations to keep everything on the upside—and they are very successful.  However, to preserve that funding model they need to lay claim to the historical narrative created by the British Museum, so to preserve the integrity of their members and donors.  That concern was reflected in the museum worker’s proclamation to me that the crystal skull was a fake—because he didn’t want me to be one of those guys to further perpetuate the many theories that the skull may belong to an undiscovered culture not yet in the museum—which is highly likely—and was the source of my interest.crystal-skull-2

The failure of the premise that the British Museum established, for which the worker represented was that it was inconceivable that the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1521 was interacting with a superior culture at the time since it has been established that European culture was the dominate one and that everyone they interacted with was inferior. We see this with the discovery of America by Columbus—even though the Chinese were obviously already in America and trading around the world—and that the Vikings were likely already in America several centuries earlier.  Even more perplexing, which is obvious to me, the mound builders of England, Ireland and likely Scandinavia likely were trading with the Phoenicians from the south, maybe even Egypt and were in the New World building mounds like those at Nework in Ohio well before Christ was born.  The British Museum ignores all these issues and sticks to their story that Europe conquered the world and thus making them the authors of history.  Relics like the crystal skull challenge that.crystal-skull-3

After looking at the skull closely with an electron microscope scan, there is evidence that some of the features were carved using a rotary cutting wheel of some kind.   Note the word, “some.”  There are many parts of the crystal skull that defy even modern methods of manufacture so there is still great mystery as to how the thing was even made by today’s standards, let along done at a time before the telephone existed.  And there is evidence that what Spain conquered in Mexico was far advanced in many ways to the Europeans, especially in canal building and astronomy.  So there is guilt in the statement—the “crystal skull is fake.”  Guilt that the very things the British Museum is supposed to guard against—the loss of information advanced by the many cultures of the world—the evidence says that a lot of the world’s cultures have been lost and the Europeans are very guilty of building their Catholic religion on top of conquests to erase the memory of what came before—which I think the crystal skull represents most.brisish-museum2

The science of history is in its infancy, even in the Room of Enlightenment—which was my favorite room in the museum—it is obvious that our grasp of history is rather shallow, and all we know is from the private collections of kings, or the little bits of junk acquired from dealers who looted tombs and cultures to sell on the black market. The best stuff is still out there locked away in private collections and museum basements lacking a proper explanation that fits with the story of history that has been told to us from our infancies.  History is much more complicated and to know it is to understand the crystal skull culture and other mysteries that are out there which have not been given a proper introduction to the world because too many people—especially of European decent—call things fake—when they are obviously not.  The crystal skull of the British Museum is more than just an artifact, it is a glimpse into the human race who had an obsession with death and wanted to face it literally—and an old habit of doing what should be impossible for the benefit of doing it and perplexing those from the future with the valor of their endeavors.britsh-museum

Rich Hoffman


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