Eugène Boban

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Eugène Boban
Eugène Boban at the 1867 Paris Exposition
Born André Eugène Boban-Duvergé
Died 1908 (aged 73–74)
Residence Mexico City, Paris, New York City
Occupation antiquarian
Known for crystal skulls

Eugène Boban or Boban-Duvergé (1834–1908) was a French antiquarian. He was the official archaeologist of the court of Maximilian I of Mexico, and a member of the French Scientific Commission in Mexico. At one time, he held then sold a number of crystal skulls, one which is now in the Musée du Quai Branly and another in the British Museum.[1]


Eugène Boban came to Mexico as a teenager, and became fluent in both Spanish and Nahuatl. He headed an expedition commissioned by Napoleon III to collect Mexican art and artifacts, later exhibited at the Trocadéro Museum in connection with the International Exposition (1867). In 1885 he had published a poster, Cuadro arqueológico y etnográfico de la republica mexicana.[2] In July 1886, he moved his business to New York City. Two sale catalogues of his collection, catalogued by Ed. Frossard, were published in New York in 1887.[3] In 1891, he organized and published the Aubin-Goupil Collection of manuscripts, bought in 1889 by Eugène Goupil and now in the Bibliothèque nationale.

Ethnological objects from his collection were sold in Paris, 1908.[4]

Questions of authenticity[edit]

A crystal skull originally sold by Boban, now in the British Museum, has been demonstrated to be a modern fake.[5]

Published works[edit]

Boban's published works include:

  • Eugéne Boban Antiquités mexicaines Paris, E. Leroux, 1875
  • Bibliographie palèoethnologique 1881
  • Cuadro arqueológico y etnográfico de la republica mexicana Mexico, Imp. de Muriga, 1885
  • E. Boban Documents pour servir à histoire du Mexique Paris, E. Leroux, 1891
  • Histoire de la nation Mexicaine 1893


  1. ^ Sax et al. (2008), Walsh (2008)
  2. ^ Smithsonian Library on-line.
  3. ^ Smithsonian Library on-line
  4. ^ Préhistorique; ages de la pierre, du bronze, du fer. Catalogue spécial des objets provenant de la collection Eugène Boban et des collections Émile Collin, du Chambon, Gaberel, Landesque, etc. Schleicher frères, Paris 1908 (Smithsonian Library on-line)
  5. ^ Rincon, Paul (2008-05-23). "Crystal skulls 'are modern fakes'". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 


Rincon, Paul (2008-05-22). "Crystal skulls 'are modern fakes'". Science/Nature. BBC News online. Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
Riviale, Pascal (2001). "Eugène Boban ou les aventures d'un antiquaire au pays des américanistes". Journal de la Société des Américanistes (in French). Paris: Société des Américanistes. 87 (1): 351–362. ISSN 0037-9174. OCLC 1765786. 
Sax, Margaret; Jane M. Walsh; Ian C. Freestone; Andrew H. Rankin; Nigel D. Meeks (May 2008). "The origin of two purportedly pre-Columbian Mexican crystal skulls". Journal of Archaeological Science. London: Elsevier Science. 35 (10): 2751–2760. doi:10.1016/j.jas.2008.05.007. OCLC 36982975. 
Smith, Donald (2005). "With a high-tech microscope, scientist exposes hoax of 'ancient' crystal skulls" (online edition). Inside Smithsonian Research. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Office of Public Affairs. 9 (Summer). OCLC 52905641. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
Walsh, Jane MacLaren (Spring 2005). "What is Real? A New Look at PreColumbian Mesoamerican Collections" (PDF online publication). AnthroNotes: Museum of Natural History Publication for Educators. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution and the National Museum of Natural History Anthropology Outreach Office. 26 (1): 1–7, 17–19. ISSN 1548-6680. OCLC 8029636. 
Walsh, Jane MacLaren (May–June 2008). "Legend of the Crystal Skulls" (online edition). Archaeology. Vol. 61 no. 3. New York: Archaeological Institute of America. pp. 36–41. ISSN 0003-8113. OCLC 1481828. Retrieved 2008-04-16.