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SI Skull

This crystal skull was anonymously mailed to the Smithsonian Institution in 1992. A letter included with the artifact said it was from the Aztec empire.
Photo by James DiLoreto ©Smithsonian Institution

The Truth about Crystal Skulls


Crystal Skull on Exhibit

Handmade by ancient Aztecs? The work of supernatural powers? Or carefully crafted fakes?

After decades of mystery, the real nature of crystal skulls is finally clear, thanks to scientists using modern technology to determine how they were made. With the recent opening of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, crystal skulls are in the news this year. But according to Museum anthropologist Jane Walsh, no crystal skull has ever been uncovered in an archeological excavation.  

Our skull arrived by mail in 1992 with an unsigned note claiming it was Aztec. This began an entirely new area of research for Walsh that promises to help museums separate fakes from the real thing.

Walsh’s eventual conclusion? Telltale marks on the Smithsonian skull show it was made with modern tools.


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