by Eric Lyons, M.Min. and Kyle Butt, M.A.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this two-part series appeared in the March issue. Part II follows below, and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]
THE JULSRUD COLLECTION
The small, obscure town of Acambaro in the state of Guanajuato in Mexico houses one of the most unique antiquities collections in the world. In 1945, a German hardware merchant named Waldemar Julsrud happened across a half-buried clay figurine at the bottom of a mountain known as el Toro (the Bull). Julsrud was no stranger to artifacts of ancient civilizations. He owned one of the most valuable and extensive collections of Chupicuaro pottery in existence. Charles Hapgood noted: “Mr. Julsrud possesses at the present time one of the best collections of this pottery (Tarascan—KB) in existence, comprising several hundred pieces” (1955, 2:1). [NOTE: At the time, the pottery was believed to be Tarascan, but was later assigned to the pre-classical Chupicuaro culture (800 B.C. to A.D. 200) (see Swift, n.d.[a]).] But the newly discovered ceramic figurines did not match any ancient civilization with which Julsrud was familiar.
The ceramic figurines intrigued Julsrud and he wanted to know if more were buried nearby. He made an arrangement with one of his employees, Odilon Tinajero, to dig in the area in an attempt to find more pieces. Julsrud agreed to pay Tinajero one peso for every figurine that was complete, or could be easily put back together. In all, Julsrud eventually collected over 33,500 figurines. The sheer number of figurines was enough to turn heads, but the fact that many of the figurines depicted reptiles that closely resembled dinosaurs in direct contact and interaction with human figures was even more startling to the scientific community. Furthermore, the apparent antiquity of the find predated modern dinosaur fossil discoveries by hundreds of years, so any accurate information regarding dinosaur anatomy would have necessarily been from the ancient civilization’s interaction with the creatures.
Reports about the amazing find began to surface. Julsrud wrote a booklet titled Enigmas del Pasado, in which he gave specific details regarding the collection. After its publication, reporters began to contact him. Lowell Harmer, writer for the Los Angeles Times, visited Julsrud in Acambaro and wrote an article in the March 25, 1951 Times. He titled the article: “Mexico Finds Give Hint of Lost World: Dinosaur Statues Point to Men Who Lived in Age of Reptiles.” Harmer mentioned the huge number of statues that had been found, saying that they “filled the floors, the tables, and the wall cabinets to overflowing” in Julsrud’s house (1951, p. B1). Harmer further discussed the intricacy with which many of the figurines were crafted: “Most of the pottery pieces are elaborate masterpieces. Days of careful talent work went into many of the larger ceramics. How could it be a hoax? Not even in Mexico, where money is so scarce, could anyone afford the labor of these thousands of statues at the low prices Julsrud is paying” (1951, p. B1). Harmer seemed fairly convinced of the collection’s authenticity, but concluded his article by saying, “I am a writer, not an archaeologist. It will be up to the experts to decide.”….
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