Agriculture
Getting the dirt on carbon
Microbes at the Gas Pump
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Amphibians
Frogs and Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Toads
Animals
Spotting the World's Leggiest Animal
The History of Meow
No Fair: Monkey Sees, Doesn't
Behavior
Chimpanzee Hunting Tools
Reading Body Language
Bringing fish back up to size
Birds
Penguins
Kiwis
Finches
Chemistry and Materials
Screaming for Ice Cream
A Light Delay
A Spider's Silky Strength
Computers
Hubble trouble doubled
Troubles with Hubble
The Earth-bound asteroid scientists saw coming
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dino Bite Leaves a Tooth
Dinosaurs Grow Up
An Ancient Spider's Web
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Vitamin D-licious Mushrooms
Quick Quake Alerts
Life trapped under a glacier
Environment
Watching for Wildfires in Yellowstone
A 'Book' on Every Living Thing
Improving the Camel
Finding the Past
Stonehenge Settlement
Salt and Early Civilization
Digging Up Stone Age Art
Fish
Piranha
Goldfish
Skates
Food and Nutrition
Eat Out, Eat Smart
A Pepper Part that Burns Fat
Recipe for Health
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Finding Subjects and Verbs
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
Math is a real brain bender
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Play for Science
Human Body
Gut Microbes and Weight
Gut Germs to the Rescue
A New Touch
Invertebrates
Krill
Spiders
Octopuses
Mammals
Yaks
Asian Elephants
Chihuahuas
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Physics
Project Music
Einstein's Skateboard
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
Plants
Nature's Alphabet
Stalking Plants by Scent
Bright Blooms That Glow
Reptiles
Snakes
Cobras
Chameleons
Space and Astronomy
Unveiling Titan
A Family in Space
Killers from Outer Space
Technology and Engineering
Toy Challenge
Shape Shifting
Reach for the Sky
The Parts of Speech
What is a Noun
Problems with Prepositions
Pronouns
Transportation
How to Fly Like a Bat
Middle school science adventures
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
Watering the Air
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Add your Article

Fakes in the museum

Indiana Jones might have saved himself a whole lot of trouble in his new movie if only he had known the crystal skulls he traveled so far to find were probably fakes. Crystal skulls, carved from a see-through mineral called quartz, have been thought by some scholars to be relics of the Aztecs or other peoples living in Central America about 500 years ago, between the 14th and 16th centuries. The stuff of legends, the skulls’ otherworldly appearance has even led some to believe that they have healing properties and came not from Aztecs but from a mysterious civilization that disappeared from the Earth long ago. Some even suggest the skulls, which Europeans began collecting in the mid-1800s, came from another planet entirely. It turns out the skulls’ origins are probably much more humble. Museum historians and archaeologists have long suspected that crystal skulls, especially large ones, may be modern-day forgeries and not the objects of a bygone civilization. Most of the life-sized crystal skulls found in museums have no documents recording where, when or how they were dug up, or who originally found them. The large size of the skulls also stands out from the much smaller skull carvings more commonly found in Aztec dig sites. These observations long raised many peoples' suspicions about the skulls. Are they really as old as their collectors say they are? To find out, a team of archaeologists recently analyzed two life-sized crystal skulls, one housed in the British Museum in London, and the other at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. By closely examining the surface of the skulls, the researchers determined what kinds of tools were used to make the skulls. For comparison, they also examined the surfaces of several beads and a drinking cup collected from archaeological digs at Central American spots known to be between 1,000 and 500 years old. To get a close-up look at the surface of each object, the researchers used a tool called a scanning electron microscope. This high-magnification tool sends a beam of electrons through an object to form an image. To work properly, the object scanned needs to be coated with a very thin layer of gold, which helps conduct the electron beam through the sample. Rather than coat the museum specimens with gold, the team pressed a type of wax onto the surface of each specimen to make a precise mold. Viewing this wax mold with the powerful magnification provided by a scanning electron microscope gave the researchers a very detailed view. They were able to look carefully at the fine markings left behind by the tools used to make the skulls, as well as the beads and cup. Under magnification, the cup and beads have the kinds of markings that would come from wood and stone tools. They were shallow and irregular, as you might expect from a piece carved by hand. The skulls, however, had more uniform surface patterns. The researchers say the pattern found on one of the skulls is the same kind of pattern produced by a more modern tool — a mechanical wheel like those used by jewelry-makers today. This suggests the large skulls were carved with modern equipment that would not have been available to the people living long ago, says Jane Walsh, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian Institution. Further analysis of the quartz in the other skull suggested the rock it was made from came from Madagascar, Europe or Brazil — all very far from the Aztec empire, and not at all connected to the empire by any trade network. Taken together, these pieces of evidence support the idea that the life-sized crystal skulls are modern-day phonies. What about the many smaller crystal skulls housed in other museums around the world? Walsh says they're probably fakes, too. But archaeologist Michael E. Smith at Arizona State University thinks otherwise. While he agrees the large skulls are probably fakes, "some small crystal skulls may indeed be legitimate Aztec objects," he says.

Fakes in the museum
Fakes in the museum








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™