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Published onSep 09, 2020

Replication of Pre-Columbian artifacts has been happening for decades. Because of prolific, even high-quality, reproductions, it is often hard to discover whether an artifact is real or not. Even experts can often misread these fakes as genuine period objects. Museums have even displayed fakes without knowing that they are indeed replicas of the real thing. Most of this replication of objects began during the 1970’s. This date gives credence to the Pre-Columbian objects in the permanent collection because Anne Brunnier acquired most of her collection during travels before the mid-1950s. However, questions of certainty in authenticity require further expensive testing to answer.

These objects come from all over the ancient Americas. Many of the figurines or parts of figurines are from Mexico, some from Ecuador, and the signature object along with others is from Peru. The Americas were a cultural center for thousands of years with many thriving civilizations. Peru, in particular, has been inhabited since 2500 BCE. These ancient civilizations, like the Maya, Aztecs, Inca and Olmec, built enormous structures that rivaled the pyramids of Giza in Ancient Egypt. Along the Mississippi, the civilization of Cahokia built massive mounds that once held temples. These structures of the Ancient Americas were so impressive that when early European settlers compared them to the pyramids. Those living in the Americas were busy building complex civilizations along with the rest of the world. Archeologists continue to discover and uncover the remains of sophisticated civilizations such as these.

Recently, satellite imagery revealed a previously unknown civilization in the Amazon rainforest. To confirm its presence, archeologists opened24 field sites and found evidence of charcoal and pottery. This extensive civilization has been dated by archaeologists to 1250–1500 BCE and each one of the sites they tested was probably once extensive settlements as they found many different conglomerations of buildings. Archeologists estimate that there are at least 100 settlements in this newly discovered area and possibly many more ranging across the Americas that have yet to be discovered.

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