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Woman buys a vase for $4 at thrift store and makes a stunning discovery five years later

The woman spotted the vase at the clearance rack of the store during checkout. She didn't know the intriguing history behind it.

Woman buys a vase for $4 at thrift store and makes a stunning discovery five years later
Cover Image Source: X | @emoctezumab

Thrifting is a sustainable way of shopping and a chance to own a piece of someone's life that has been loved and cherished. However, sometimes people chance upon a rare item that is an integral part of a culture's history. The same thing happened to a woman who bought a vase for around four dollars at a thrift store without knowing its rich history. She accidentally purchased a Mayan artifact five years ago. It wasn't until this year that she discovered exactly how precious it was, as per CBS-affiliated WUSA.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Zulfu Demir
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Zulfu Demir

The woman, Anna Lee Dozier, found the 2000-year-old artifact at a 2A thrift store in Clinton. “It looked old-ish, but I thought maybe 20, 30 years old and some kind of tourist reproduction thing so I brought it home,” the woman expressed. The Washington DC resident spotted the vase at the clearance rack of the store when she was about to checkout, as per radio station KCVR. The whole ordeal seemed as if it were destined to take place. The woman works as a human rights advocate for Christian Solidarity Worldwide and worked for quite some time with the Indigenous communities of Mexico. Hence, she was immediately drawn to the creation.

"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, I thought it would be just a nice little thing to take home and put on the shelf and to remind me of Mexico," Dozier explained. It was only during her work trip to Mexico in January 2024 that the woman wondered if her find could be something more important than a tourist replica. Dozier noticed vases at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City had identical features to the ones she had at home.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Wild Shots by Irina
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Wild Shots by Irina

"Some of the things I was looking at looked awfully like what I had at home on my shelf. I still was dubious that it was real, but just thought it looked enough like that that I asked to speak to someone in the [museum] offices and just ask, if I had something of interest, what would be the process to authenticate that," Dozier recounted. “So, I just asked what would be the process if I had something that was old and I wanted to repatriate it, how would I go about that? She (the museum staff member) hears that a lot. She was a bit skeptical but said you would go back to your country and contact the embassy," the woman told WUSA.


She went back home and contacted the embassy. "I got an email saying, 'Congratulations — it's real and we would like it back,'" Dozier revealed. The vase dates back to 200 AD to 800 AD and was a ceremonial urn belonging to the indigenous Mayan people. “I am thrilled to have played a part in its repatriation story. I would like it to go back to its rightful place and to where it belongs. But I also want it out of my home because I have three little boys and I have been petrified, well it’s gone now, but I was petrified that after two thousand years I would be the one to wreck it!” the mom joked.

The family met the Mexican Ambassador to the U.S., Esteban Moctezuma Barragán, when Dozier returned the vase during an official ceremony held at the Cultural Institute of Mexico. “When you have strong roots, you know them and you honor them. She recognized that a whole country, a whole culture cares about it, and we are deeply grateful to her," Barragán shared. The artifact will be shipped back to its home country and placed at the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, as per an X thread by the ambassador.

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