Hodges skeleton exhibit -- real or hoax?

Amy McCormick

"The Centaur Excavations at Volos", a skeletal exhibition depicting the burial of a half human/half horse creature and a group of related ceramics, is on display on the first floor of John C. Hodges Library.

The exhibit displays a map of Greece and clay tablets which are the most extensive collection of centaurian literature in a library in the eastern United States.

Aubrey Mitchell, associate dean of access services at the libraries, said the university libraries now hold the only centaur (living or dead) on the UTK campus.

"This unique exhibit enables all visitors to Hodges Library an opportunity to link the distant past with the fast-changing present and to form opinions on how to better interpret the future," Mitchell said.

While most people have dismissed centaurs as just part of ancient Greek mythology, these skeletal remains prove otherwise. Right? Here is the recreation of an ancient burial site on display at a respected university. But what seems like indisputable evidence may, in fact, disguise or distort the truth.

University students are as likely as anyone to accept glib answers. This display is a potent object lesson for anyone who fails to look beyond the obvious. The hoax is intended to warn students not to believe everything they see and read.

Dr. William Willers, a professor of microbiology at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh, constructed "The Centaur Excavations at Volos" from human and equine bones. By using a tea stain, Willers was able to match the contrasting bone colors.

Dr. Neil Greenburg, associate professor of zoology at UT, and Dr. Beauvais Lyons, associate professor of art at UT, were responsible for bringing the exhibition to the university.

The project was funded by the UT Cultural Affairs Board, the Office of Student Affairs, University Studies, the Student Exhibit Committee, the Hokes Archives, and private donations.

Copyright 1994 by The Daily Beacon. All rights reserved.
This story was published on Friday, June 24, 1994
Volume 66, Number 7
The story began on page 2 and jumped to page 2 .
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