Out-of-Place Artifacts: Mayan Figurine Found in Arkansas

Out-of-Place Artifacts or “OOPs” have been found all over America, from Roman coins to Chinese anchors. But few are so mysterious as this Mayan Figurine.

Tablets inscribed with Hebrew, cuneiform tablets, strange stone inscriptions, and countless other bizarre artifacts that go well beyond what’s considered “normal” were found in the United States.

They are invariably described by skeptics as hoaxes, artifacts dropped or lost by settlers, or simply misunderstood. But the Mayan figurine from Arkansas is one of the strangest OOPs you will ever see.

It is prominently displayed by the inside entrance to the Fort Smith, Arkansas Museum of History. The artifact is about 4-inches in height and depicts a seated Mayan in headgear. It was discovered in a cave in west-central Arkansas in the late 1970s. The artifact was initially sent to the Anthropology Department at UCLA. There, it was authenticated as a genuine Mayan artifact that was made in the eastern Mayan area of the Yucatan. The artifact was dated to the Late Classic Period, circa A.D. 600-800. The object is thought to have once been attached to a larger bowl.

But… How did it get to Arkansas?

The conventional explanation that is cited is that the artifact was carried to Arkansas by “Spanish explorers” who ventured into Arkansas. Perhaps by the troops accompanying Hernando DeSoto who ventured into Arkansas in 1541.

However, by the time DeSoto’s troops reached Arkansas they had already become a haggard group who had already lost almost everything they looted and most of their gear. DeSoto himself was never in the Yucatan or in Central America.

Even if some of the 620 conquistadores accompanying him had served in Central America, it’s possible that one of these conquistadores carried the Mayan figurine along with him, but the odds of him making the long and arduous journey to Arkansas with the Mayan artifact intact are very slim.

Well… guess we will have to find another theory on how this Mayan figure end up in Arkansas… Any idea? 😉

2 Comments on “Out-of-Place Artifacts: Mayan Figurine Found in Arkansas”

  1. This is not the only Mayan artifact to be found in Arkansas. I know from personal experience that an artifact described as Mayan by several archaeologists as a fertility “pot” was found in Arkansas. While this was not a pot, but more of an effigy, it was Mayan or closely related. Something happened here that links these two cultures.

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