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13 skulls nonsense detracts from real Mayan achievements

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« on: November 17, 2011, 02:09:03 am »

Archaeology | 13 skulls nonsense detracts from real Mayan achievements

Sunday November 13, 2011 8:05 AM
Thirteen crystal skulls were brought to Serpent Mound on Oct. 29 for a ceremony intended to ignite the alleged paranormal powers contained in these supposedly ancient relics.

According to Kendall Morgan, one of the event organizers quoted in an article in The Dispatch, the goal was “to gather as many skulls together in one location as possible” so that information somehow stored inside their crystalline hard drives could be recovered.

Hunbatz Men, identified as a Mayan elder and priest, led the ceremony as part of a series of gatherings at sacred sites that will culminate in December at the “Crystal Skulls World Mysteries Gateway Conference” to be held at a Los Angeles hotel.

According to the Dispatch article, Hunbatz Men will meet with 12 other Mayan priests to discuss the 2012 Mayan Prophecy, which is supposed to have something to do with the end of the world.

Writing on the Crystal Skull Festival website, Men said: “The crystal skulls are not emitting all their information like they did thousands of years ago,” but by bringing them together and returning them “to the sacred Mayan lands, the cycle of time for the return of the Mayan cosmic consciousness will have been completed.”

I appreciate the attention these activities are bringing to Serpent Mound, but I cringe at associating this fantastic mélange of nonsensical claims with the world’s largest ancient effigy mound and a true wonder of the ancient world.

First of all, crystal skulls are not ancient and have nothing to do with traditional Mayan religious practices.

According to Jane MacLaren Walsh, a Smithsonian Institution anthropologist writing in the May/June 2008 issue of Archaeology magazine, “Not a single crystal skull in a museum collection comes from a documented excavation, and they have little stylistic or technical relationship with any genuine pre-Columbian depictions of skulls.”

Moreover, her studies of two of the most famous crystal skulls demonstrate that they were carved with modern tools.

Second, there is no support in ancient Mayan writings for the idea that 2012 had any more significance to the ancient Maya than any Dec. 31 has for us. These dates simply reflect when our respective calendars switch from one period of culturally significant time to the next. The expiration of a year, or a Mayan creation cycle, need not signal an apocalypse.

Anthony Aveni, a professor of astronomy and anthropology at Colgate University, says archaeologists are partly to blame for the hysteria over the 2012 Mayan prophecy — and, by extension, the silliness regarding crystal skulls.

In the November/December 2009 issue of Archaeology, he argued that we should be working harder to convey the authentic glories of ancient cultures, such as the well-documented “ability of the Maya to follow the position of Venus to an accuracy of one day in 500 years with the naked eye.”

The problem with all the attention being lavished on crystal skulls and apocalyptic visions is that it diminishes the level of understanding and appreciation for the actual accomplishments of ancient Americans, which should be amazing enough for anyone.

Bradley T. Lepper is curator of archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society.
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2011, 02:10:20 am »

Brad Lepper (Brad_Lepper)

For more about the crystal skulls at Serpent Mound, check out the Ohio Historical Society's Archaeology Blog:

2011-11-13 08:54:08.0
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