Monday, 22 June 2020

Father Crespi and his Artifacts

Crespi won the hearts of the people and they began to bring him artifacts as offers of thanks. The items came from all corners of the country, and were the works of almost all the indigenous cultures of Ecuador.
Father Carlos Crespi Croci was a Salesian monk who was born in Italy in 1891. He studied anthropology at the University of Milan before becoming a priest. In 1923, he was assigned to the small Andean city of Cuenca in Ecuador to work among the indigenous people. It was here that he devoted 59 years of his life to charitable work until his death in 1982.

Over time, Father Crespi acquired more than 50,000 objects.
Thousands of Crespi’s artifacts are unremarkable but there was a small subset of items that sparked intense controversy.

Some of the artifacts are Babylonian in style, others appear to have been carved in gold with strange motifs and symbols that do not resemble objects from any South American culture. Some of the gold plates appear to show a type of ancient writing.
In 1973, Swiss ‘ancient astronaut author’ Eric von Däniken launched his book ‘ Gold of the Gods ’, claiming the artifacts had been created by a lost civilization with help from extraterrestrial beings. Father Crespi and the story of his artifacts shot to fame.

According to Däniken, the so-called Metallic Library consisted of thousands of books made with metallic pages. A recent investigation has proven them to be crude fakes.
Investigators found Father Crespi’s collection was purchased by the Central Bank of Ecuador and is currently stored in their museum vaults, with the majority being authentic and valuable artifacts. Nowhere to be found however were the artifacts that were photographed and filmed in the 1970s consisting of gold carvings, hieroglyphs, and the Sumerian figures.

No one at the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Church of Maria Auxiliadora or the Central Bank Museum were able to say what became of them.