Aztec Obsidian Ear Plugs: Out-of-place Artifacts (OOPArt)

Aztec Ear Plugs: Out-of-place Artifacts

The Aztec Culture, as with many other past cultures of the Mesoamerican region had a love for Obsidian. It was used mainly for objects of a sacrificial or ritualistic nature and is a reasonably common find at many South American sites.

In case you’re unfamiliar with it, Obsidian is a very brittle, black volcanic glass and is quite difficult to carve or work with. However, sometime during the past an ‘unknown Aztec craftsman’ is believed to have made these wonderful and rather unusual little items which are thought to be earplugs. Yes that right, earplugs, and we are asked to believe that they were made by using the typical Aztec tools of the time, such as bamboo drills, stone chisels and fine sand as an abrasive agent.

This can only be seen as an incredibly unfathomable conclusion, because these items are polished to a constant thickness of less than one millimeter throughout, they are perfectly circular, completely symmetrical and are both exactly the same size. Now just think about that for a moment and remember that we’re talking about earplugs here. These things really are, very small, as I’m sure you will realize if you consider the size of an actual ear canal, plus they have been made to an incredible degree of precision from obsidian.

Just notice the accuracy of the small flanges protruding from the ends of the items. It is very difficult to imagine someone making these from brittle Obsidian by using primitive hand tools However, the most fascinating and interesting thing about these artifacts is that under close scrutiny the unmistakable signs of machining are actually quite clearly visible on the surfaces making the idea that they were hand made even more difficult to deal with.

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