Home / Funny / Viral / $4 Thrift Store Vase Turns Out To Be a Nearly 2,000-Year-Old Mayan Vase


A woman in Washington, D.C., has just returned a real Mayan vase she paid $3.99 for, in what is perhaps the latest instance of a thrift store find turned out to be a significant artefact. Anna Lee Dozier saw the vase about five years ago while browsing the 2A Thrift Store in Clinton, Maryland. Dozier, a human rights advocate with Christian Solidarity Worldwide who has worked with Mexican Indigenous communities, was intrigued by the vase which had been left on a clearance shelf next to the register. She took it and carried it home after paying the small fee.

She told NPR, "I thought it would be just a nice little thing to take home and put on the shelf and to remind me of Mexico because I could see that it had some kind of link to Mexico, in terms of what it looked like, and since it's a country that I work on and it's really important to me."

Dozier noticed the age of the vase, but she didn't give it much thought because she thought it was a replica until she recently went to the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. There, she noticed how strikingly similar the Mayan vases were to the ceramics she owned at home while viewing an exhibition of them.

She asked museum employees what steps she would need to take to get her own vase authenticated in order to allay her doubts. They put her in touch with the Mexican embassy, asking her to submit pictures of the find from the thrift store. After reviewing her materials, the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico got in touch with her to verify the authenticity of the vase and to request its return.

Content to oblige, Dozier collaborated with authorities to guarantee the vase's return home, dating it from 200 to 800 CE. Following a formal event at the Cultural Institute of Mexico in Washington, D.C., the vase is currently en route to the Museum of Anthropology, where it will undergo examination before being transferred to a smaller museum in the nation.

Dozier was overjoyed to contribute to the vase's return to its native country. She told a local news source, "I would like it to go back to its rightful place and to where it belongs." "I have three young boys, and I would also like it removed from my home. Although it is no longer there, I was terrified that, in 2,000 years, I might be the one to destroy it at any time."

It's interesting to note that the Cultural Institute was returning numerous artefacts to Mexico, including this one that it found at a thrift store. The majority of them were left anonymously. Every month, the organisation ships artefacts back, and 90% of them are later determined to be authentic. Attending the ceremony, Mexican Ambassador Estaban Moctezuma Barragan praised Dozier for his initiative in returning the vase rather than trying to sell it for a high price.

"When you have solid roots, acknowledge them, and treat them with respect," he said. We are incredibly appreciative of her for realising that an entire nation and culture care about it.

Dozier is certain that what she did was the right choice.

“Giving it back feels so much better than it would if I put it on eBay and I got a bunch of money,” she said. “It's really important to recognise that some of these things, especially with such historical and cultural value to an entire country and people—you can't really put a number on that.” 

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