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The crystal skulls are human skull hardstone carvings made of clear or milky white quartz (also called "rock crystal"), claimed to be pre-Columbian Mesoamerican artifacts by their alleged finders; however, these claims have been refuted for all of the specimens made available for scientific studies.
The results of these studies demonstrated that those examined were manufactured in the mid-19th century or later, almost certainly in Europe during a time when interest in ancient culture was abundant.
Many crystal skulls are claimed to be pre-Columbian, usually attributed to the Aztec or Maya civilizations.
Mesoamerican art has numerous representations of skulls, but none of the skulls in museum collections come from documented excavations.
According to new evidence presented in a National Geographic documentary, the skull was purchased at a Sotheby's auction by F. 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. 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 axis, and 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. 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.
A parallel example is provided by obsidian mirrors, ritual objects widely depicted in Aztec art.
Most of Boban's collection, including three crystal skulls, was sold to the ethnographer Alphonse Pinart, who donated the collection to the Trocadéro Museum, which later became the Musée de l'Homme.
The Smithsonian specimen had been worked with a different abrasive, namely the silicon-carbon compound carborundum (Silicon carbide) which is a synthetic substance manufactured using modern industrial techniques.
None of the skulls in museums come from documented excavations.
Sydney Burney, a London art dealer who is said to have owned it since 1933.
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.