Misplaced pre-Inca skull found by chance in Seville after 80 years


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An ancient skull dating from the pre-Inca period of Peru has turned up in Spain after being lost for more than 80 years. The skull is more than 2,000 years old and arrived at the University of Seville thanks to a ‘chain of lucky chances’.

skullIt appears to be that of a male around 30 years old and arrived in Spain in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition in Seville, where it was exhibited, along with other archaeological remains, in the pavilion which was built for the Expo by Peru. The pavilion still stands today and now houses the city’s Peruvian General Consulate.

When the exhibition ended, it and other objects from the Peruvian pavilion remained in Seville.

It’s now known that the Peruvian consul of the time gave the skull to a Seville doctor, who kept it until his death. The doctor’s widow then passed it on to the then-director of Seville’s Archaeological Museum, Fernando Fernández.

EFE reports that the skull’s next port of call was with Luis Hurtado, the coordinator of the project for its recovery. He then sent it to the Anatomy Department at Seville University, where Professor Jesús Ambrosiani and forensic medicine expert, Leandro Picabea, have been carrying out an in-depth anthropological and anatomical study of the skull.

They have determined that it is that of a young male, and is remarkably well-preserved. It appears to have been buried in the sand at some point, which would have helped to maintain its condition.

It also bears a hand-written inscription which says, ‘This skull was given to me by my friend Ismael Pozo, the eminent Peruvian writer. It was displayed at the Peruvian Pavilion at the Ibero-American Exposition and comes from Cuzco, with an age of more than 2,000 years. And to record this, I sign in Seville on Feb. 20 1931. Antonio Plata Olmedo, artist-painter.’

The skull is to return home when it is handed over to the Peruvian authorities in the coming weeks.

The Ibero-American Exposition held in Seville opened in May 1929, and ran through until the end of June the following year. Seville’s famous Plaza de España was built for the Expo, and a large number of the pavilions were also built as permanent structures. Many are today offices for General Consulates, as is the Peruvian Pavilion, which was the largest of the 10 pavilions constructed for the Expo by the Ibero-American countries.

Source: Typically Spanish.com [January 19, 2011]



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