Monday, June 29, 2009

Pre-Columbian Arftifact?

Have you ever owned something and not known exactly what its intended purpose was? I’ve been lugging this “thing” around for about 25 years or so, and still am not sure why!

Provenance is as follows: I bought it at a garage sale about 25 years ago from a family that was cleaning out grandpa’s attic to settle his estate. I think I paid about eight or ten dollars for it. Supposedly, grandpa had trekked all over the world and had accumulated lots of trash and treasures in his travels. It was reported that he was particularly fond of traveling to South and Central America.

My piece of trash, or treasure if you will, was purported to be a Pre-Columbian oil lamp. Indeed, there is a place for the wick and a separate hole to put oil in. It is made of stone and is otherwise rather inconspicuous. Over the years, I’ve shown it to several different dealers and collectors, and not a one of them has ever confirmed its age or authenticity. In any event, I know it’s at least 25 years old! And, authentic or not, it makes a great door stop!

Here are a few photos and some dimensions. It stands just about 6 inches tall and is four and one half inches in diameter, slightly less at the base.

If you can identify this for me, I’ll be your friend for a long, long time! If you can’t, that’s OK, we can still be friends.
Any idea?
Educated guess?


  1. I'm looking at this thing and asked myself What would Indiana Jones think it is? The answer HAS to is a missing key piece that opens the door to the Dungeon of Doom of coarse!

    Bam! I solved your mystery. No need to thank me.

  2. Hi, have you considered showing the photos to some archeologists in Mexico City? Email some, you can find the info on any of their websites. Or some universities that specialize in precolumbian history, etc......