She Bought A Vase At A Thrift Store For $4—Turns Out It's An Ancient Mayan Ceremonial Urn

June 22, 2024

In an extraordinary turn of events, Anna Lee Dozier of Washington, DC, made a remarkable discovery that has captivated historians and archaeologists alike.

Five years ago, while browsing the clearance rack of the 2A Thrift Store in Clinton, MD, Dozier stumbled upon a unique vase.

ancient mayan vase thrift store
Mexican Cultural Institute DC

"It was neat looking and so I thought I'd take it home," she said.

Fast forward to January this year, when Dozier’s work took her to Mexico. A visit to the Museum of Anthropology left her astonished as she noticed artifacts strikingly similar to her thrift store vase. Intrigued, Dozier inquired about the process of repatriating potentially ancient items.

Upon returning to the U.S., she sent pictures and dimensions of the vase to experts. To her amazement, she discovered that her $3.99 purchase was not just an authentic Mexican artifact but a ceremonial urn belonging to the Indigenous Mayan people. Dating back between 200 and 800 AD, this vase is nearly two thousand years old and a priceless treasure.

Rather than profiting from her discovery, Dozier chose to return the vase to its rightful home. In a formal ceremony at the Cultural Institute of Mexico, she handed over the artifact to Mexican Ambassador Esteban Moctezuma Barragán.

The urn will now be placed in a museum in Mexico, where it will be preserved and appreciated as part of the country’s rich cultural heritage.

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