Jane MacLaren Walsh

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Jane MacLaren Walsh
Residence  USA
Known for pre-Columbian artifact curating
and investigations
Scientific career
Fields anthropology
Institutions National Museum of Natural History

Jane MacLaren Walsh is an anthropologist and researcher at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. She is known for her role in exposing faked pre-Columbian artifacts. Notable cases she has investigated include crystal skulls alleged to have been of ancient Mesoamerican (usually Maya) origins, and a piece held by the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection purported to be an authentic pre-Columbian representation of an Aztec and central Mexican goddess, Tlazolteotl.[1]

Walsh's interest in crystal skulls began with the anonymous delivery of one such object to the Smithsonian in 1992.[2]


  1. ^ Walsh (2008a; 2008b)
  2. ^ See Walsh's retelling of the incident in an article published in Archaeology magazine (Walsh 2008a).


Walsh, Jane MacLaren (1997). "Crystal skulls and other problems: or, "don't look it in the eye"". In Amy Henderson and Adrienne L. Kaeppler (eds.). Exhibiting Dilemmas: Issues of Representation at the Smithsonian. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 1-56098-690-5. OCLC 34598037. 
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, DC: 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 (2008a). "Legend of the Crystal Skulls" (online edition). Archaeology. New York: Archaeological Institute of America. 61 (3): 36–41. ISSN 0003-8113. OCLC 1481828. Retrieved 2009-08-12. the Tlazolteotl idol, like the crystal skulls, is a nineteenth-century fake. 
Walsh, Jane MacLaren (2008b). "La Tlazolteotl de Dumbarton Oaks: un regard sous la surface" [=The Dumbarton Oaks Tlazolteotl: looking beneath the surface] (English abstract). Journal de la Société des Américanistes (in French). Paris: Société des Américanistes. 94 (1): 7–43. Retrieved 2009-07-20.