Above, Azilian skulls in a case at the American Museum of Natural History at New York City. The Azilians were singled out as representing the last migration of reugees out of Atlantis at about 10000-12000 years ago and they represent a "Mixed crowd". Both longheaded and shortheaded skulls are included, some of them artificially deformed, and some of them are similar to the Archaic populations of the two Americas starting at that time and including the earliest ancestors of the Mayans.
Combe-Capelle skull, a good representation of the smaller morphotype of CroMagnons, for comparison to the Crystal Skull.
Below, the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal skull, in two views.
Speculations on smaller skulls
None of the skulls in museums come from documented excavations. A parallel example is provided by obsidian mirrors, ritual objects widely depicted in Aztec art. Although a few surviving obsidian mirrors come from archaeological excavations, none of the Aztec-style obsidian mirrors are so documented. Yet most authorities on Aztec material culture consider the Aztec-style obsidian mirrors as authentic pre-Columbian objects. Archaeologist Michael E. Smith reports a non peer-reviewed find of a small crystal skull at an Aztec site in the Valley of Mexico. Crystal skulls have been described as "A fascinating example of artifacts that have made their way into museums with no scientific evidence to prove their rumored pre-Columbian origins." A similar case is the "Olmec-style" face mask in jade; hardstone carvings of a face in a mask form. Curators and scholars refer to these as "Olmec-style", as to date no example has been recovered in an archaeologically controlled Olmec context, although they appear Olmec in style. However they have been recovered from sites of other cultures, including one deliberately deposited in the ceremonial precinct of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City), which would presumably have been about 2,000 years old when the Aztecs buried it, suggesting these were as valued and collected as Roman antiquities were in Europe.
Perhaps the most famous and enigmatic skull was allegedly discovered in 1924 by Anna Le Guillon Mitchell-Hedges, adopted daughter of British adventurer and popularist author F.A. Mitchell-Hedges. It is the subject of a video documentary made in 1990, Crystal Skull of Lubaantun. It has been noted upon examination by Smithsonian researchers to be "very nearly a replica of the British Museum skull--almost exactly the same shape, but with more detailed modeling of the eyes and the teeth." Anna Hedges claimed that she found the skull buried under a collapsed altar inside a temple in Lubaantun, in British Honduras, now Belize. As far as can be ascertained, F.A. Mitchell-Hedges himself made no mention of the alleged discovery in any of his writings on Lubaantun. Also, others present at the time of the excavation have not been documented as noting either the skull's discovery or Anna's presence at the dig.
In a 1970 letter, Anna also stated that she was, "told by the few remaining Maya that the skull was used by the high priest to will death." For this reason, the artifact is sometimes referred to as "The Skull of Doom". An alternative explanation[who?] is a play on 'Skull of Dunn' (Dunn being an associate of Mitchell-Hedges). Anna Mitchell-Hedges toured with the skull from 1967 exhibiting it on a pay-per-view basis, and she continued to give interviews about the artifact until her death in 2007.
The skull is made from a block of clear quartz about the size of a small human cranium, measuring some 5 inches (13 cm) high, 7 inches (18 cm) long and 5 inches wide. The lower jaw is detached. In the early 1970s it came under the temporary care of freelance art restorer Frank Dorland, who claimed upon inspecting it that it had been "carved" with total disregard to the natural crystal axes without the use of metal tools. Dorland reported being unable to find any tell-tale scratch marks, except for traces of mechanical grinding on the teeth, and he speculated that it was first chiseled into rough form, probably using diamonds, and the finer shaping, grinding and polishing was achieved through the use of sand over a period of 150 to 300 years. He said it could be up to 12,000 years old. Although various claims have been made over the years regarding the skull's physical properties, such as an allegedly constant temperature of 70 °F (21 °C), Dorland reported that there was no difference in properties between it and other natural quartz crystals.
While in Dorland's care the skull came to the attention of writer Richard Garvin, at the time working at an advertising agency where he supervised Hewlett-Packard's advertising account. Garvin made arrangements for the skull to be examined at HP's crystal labs at Santa Clara, where it was subjected to several tests. The labs determined only that it was not a composite (as Dorland had supposed), but that it was fashioned from a single crystal of quartz. The lab test also established that the lower jaw had been fashioned from the same left-handed growing crystal as the rest of the skull. No investigation was made by HP as to its method of manufacture or dating.
F. A. Mitchell-Hedges mentioned the skull only briefly in the first edition of his autobiography, Danger My Ally (1954), without specifying where or by whom it was found. He merely claimed that "it is at least 3,600 years old and according to legend it was used by the High Priest of the Maya when he was performing esoteric rites. It is said that when he willed death with the help of the skull, death invariably followed". All subsequent editions of Danger My Ally omitted mention of the skull entirely.
The earliest published reference to the skull is the July 1936 issue of the British anthropological journal Man, where it is described as being in the possession of Mr. Sydney Burney, a London art dealer who is said to have owned it since 1933. No mention was made of Mitchell-Hedges. There is documentary evidence that Mitchell-Hedges bought it from Burney in 1944. The skull was in the custody of Anna Mitchell-Hedges, the adopted daughter of Frederick. She steadfastly refused to let it be examined by experts (making very doubtful the claim that it was reported on by R. Stansmore Nutting in 1962). Somewhere between 1988–1990 Anna Mitchell-Hedges toured with the skull.
In her last eight years, Anna Mitchell-Hedges lived in Chesterton, Indiana, with Bill Homann, whom she married in 2002. She died on April 11, 2007. Since that time the Mitchell-Hedges Skull has been in the custody of Bill Homann. He continues to believe in its mystical properties.
British Museum skull
The crystal skull of the British Museum first appeared in 1881, in the shop of the Paris antiquarian, Eugène Boban. Its origin was not stated in his catalog of the time. He is said to have tried to sell it to Mexico's national museum as an Aztec artifact, but was unsuccessful. Boban later moved his business to New York City, where the skull was sold to George H. Sisson. It was exhibited at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in New York City in 1887 by George F. Kunz. It was sold at auction, and bought by Tiffany and Co., who later sold it at cost to the British Museum in 1897. This skull is very similar to the Mitchell-Hedges skull, although it is less detailed and does not have a movable lower jaw.
The British Museum catalogues the skull's provenance as "probably European, 19th century AD" and describes it as "not an authentic pre-Columbian artefact". It has been established that this skull was made with modern tools, and that it is not authentic.
16.^ Such as at Teotihuacan; see Taube (1992).
17.^ See for eg Olivier (2003).
18.^ Michael E. Smith, "Aztec Crystal Skulls," Publishing Archaeology Blog
19.^ "Smithsonian puts its fake- crystal skull- on display". San Francisco Chronicle (July 18). 2008. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/11/DDV111N1T2.DTL. Retrieved 2008-09-21.
20.^ Artworld University of East Anglia collections
21.^ "Crystal Skull of Labaantun (1990)". The New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/11717/Crystal-Skull-of-Lubaantun/overview?scp=6&sq=%22crystal%20skull%22&st=cse. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
22.^ Walsh (2008). See also the 1936 debate on its resemblance to the British Museum skull, in Digby (1936) and Morant (1936), passim.
23.^ See Garvin (1973, caption to photo 25); also Nickell (2007, p.67).
24.^ Nickell (2007, pp.68–69)
25.^ Garvin (1973, p.93)
26.^ Hammond (2008)
27.^ Dorland, in a May 1983 letter to Joe Nickell, cited in Nickell (2007, p.70).
28.^ See Garvin (1973, pp.75–76), also Hewlett-Packard (1971, p.9). The test conducted involved immersing the skull in a liquid (Benzyl alcohol) with the same diffraction coefficient and viewing it under polarized light.
29.^ Garvin (1973, pp.75–76); Hewlett-Packard (1971, p.9).
30.^ Hewlett-Packard (1971, p.10).
34.^ See Mitchell-Hedges (1954, pp.240–243); also description of same in the chapter "Riddle of the Crystal Skulls", in Nickell (2007, pp.67–73).
35.^ Mitchell-Hedges' quote, as reproduced in Nickell (2007, p.67).
36.^ See Morant (1936, p.105), and comments in Digby (1936). See also discussion of the prior ownership in Nickell (2007, p.69).
37.^ Stelzer, C.D. (2008-06-12). "The kingdom of the crystal skull". Illinois Times. http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid:7678. Retrieved 2009-02-08.
38.^ "A Great Labor Problem. It Receives Attention from the Scientists. They devote attention, too, to a beautiful adze and a mysterious crystal skull." (PDF). New York Times (August 13). 1887. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=1&res=9803E5D71430E633A25750C1A96E9C94669FD7CF&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
39.^ British Museum (n.d.-a, n.d.-b)
40.^ Digby (1936)
41.^ British Museum (n.d.-a)
42.^ British Museum (n.d.-c). See also articles on the investigations which established it to be a fake, in Connor (2005), Jury (2005), Smith (2005), and Walsh
43.^ Rincon (2008), Sax et al. (2008)
It should be mentioned that the critical slant against the crystal skull is referenced solely to the work of one researcher, and Anne Mitchell-Hedges had adequately accounted for the stories of the skull pasing through several hands, like the Maltese Falcon, until it came back into her possesssion. Not that the stories don't sound highly suspicious, I am just saying that they were actually accounted for by the skull's owner.
The British Museum Skull, found four decades earlier, is undoubtedly a much later and much cruder copy of the Mitchell-Hedges skull, which would at least mean that the MH skull was an unrecovered relic in the interrim and was the original; and also it means that the British Museum is not unbiased on the subject.
Now as for my part I am a Skull Fancier. This one crystal skull is the one I always had a possibility of being genuine: I doubt the observations of persons that say that the skull was manufactured by modern machine tools although parts of it could have been test-ground experimentally by various owners in unobtrusive areas such as on the inside of the teeth. The separable lower jawbone is a marvel not attempted in the other skulls, and it is a feature authenticated in replica skulls actually made in antiquity. That I consider the large crystal skull to be unique I do not consider it to be unprecidented: smaller crystal skulls are also regularly alleged to be real and the entire second category of replica skulls done in JADE in both various Oriental countries and in the New World goes without question. In this case it might be considered that the techniques of carving a jade skull using sand and water as guided by strips of reed have been successfully transferred to a rock crystal analogue.
Late Classical Mayan Small Jade Skull Now I am not saying absolutely that the skull is genuine, I have not examined it for myself and I know a thing or two to look for to determine if it is geniune or not. I am also not saying it is necessarily 12000 years old. But my point is that the skull is a good reproduction of the type of skull that began to show up in Europe 12000 years ago and considered by Lewis Spence to represent the final migration out of Atlantis. Moreover in my opinion it is definitely a representation of a female out of that population.
Obercassel Late Upper Paleolithic European male skull in museum case to the left and the reconstruction of the corresponding female below.
Reconstruction of an Archaic female skull from a burial at Leandra, Tezas; and a painting of a "Queen of the Taino Arawaks" named Yuiza [Puerto Rico], all very close to the same type.
Please note that the Classical Mayan skulls are NOTHING like the Crystal skull, either the male or the female skulls, and that the corresponding more recent European skulls tend to be very much more fragile in structure.
The reconstruction of the Archaic woman from Texas should be compared to the drawing of the Obercassel woman facing right, and the portrait of Yuiza should be compared to the face-on view. The setting of the eyes, shape of the nose and the full mouth is the same for each one.
The colouration is different because the European artist wanted to make the woman in the artwork to be a blonde.
Obercassel Female Skull Compared to Crystal Skull, and the Reconstruction. The Obercassel skulls are thought to be in the realm of 12000 years old.
Obercasel Female Skull, M-H Crystal Skull and British Museum skull. The worksmanship on the M-H Crystal Skull is that of a gifted master craftsman and the British Museum specimen so much inferior to it to seem the work of a competent but uninspired amateur. Note the skillful representation of the eye sockets in the M-H Crystal skuull and the plain circles of the British Museum piece, and above all the care and skill with which the individual teeth are carved on the M-H skull as opposed to the stylized scratches on the British Museum one: besides which the M-H skull has a separable jaw. The two skulls were NOT made by the same hand. Joe Nickel is no expert evaluator of art objects and apparently has little knowledge of the anatomy of human skulls or that much would seem obvious. The British Museum itself (as mentioned before) is obviously biased and their statements on the similarities between the two Crystal Skulls are unreliable. That the British Museum skull could be an inferior copy is entirely possible.