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The Crystal Skull

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posted on 05.01.2012, 00:00 authored by James Meierhoff
Archaeology can be the quest for the fantastic. The realization that the bulk of archaeological research is in fact a tedious chore through the mundane dispels many fantasies and boyhood tales of lost cities and mysterious civilizations. However, certain artifacts cross these lines, becoming at times more than a product of past human endeavor, and enter our contemporary society as nothing less than The Fantastic. In the Maya World, perhaps no single artifact is as such as the Mitchell-Hedges Skull, or simply, The Crystal Skull (this is the artifact that inspired the forth Indiana Jones movie). The fact that The Crystal Skull may in fact be an historic fake does not lessen its appeal to scores of fledgling researchers and seekers, academic or no. As a graduate student studying Maya culture I was honored to be among the few invited to see The Crystal Skull, which since its ‘excavation’ in the 1920’s, has been privately owned. While my studies have focused on the intersection of the ancient and historic Maya, likewise The Crystal Skull became to me a symbol of the interaction our culture and that of the Maya, of our need to continue the unending quest for the Fantastic.


University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College


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Entry 2011 in The Image of Research, a competition for students in graduate or professional degree programs at UIC, sponsored by UIC's Graduate College and the University Library. Images of award recipients and honorable mention images on exhibition in the Richard J. Daley Library, April 13-May 30, 2011.

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