The Crisis of Modern Epigraphic Forgeries and the Antiquities Market
Vaughn (Andrew G.) & Rollston (Christopher A.)
Source: Society for Biblical Literature Forum Archive
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s “Synopsis of the Problem”

  1. The number of Northwest Semitic inscriptions appearing on the antiquities market continues unabated. Some of these epigraphic objects are genuine (i.e., ancient) inscriptions, but have appeared on the market as a result of illicit excavations. Some of these epigraphic objects, however, are modern forgeries.
  2. It should be safe to presume that because of the presence of modern forgeries on the antiquities market, vigilance and caution would be the modus operandi of specialists (and non-specialists) within the field. Sometimes, however, credulousness has actually been regnant of late. This suspension of critical judgment has precipitated at least two crises:
    1. The dataset of ancient Northwest Semitic has been corrupted with modern forgeries, and
    2. the general public has become suspicious about the capacity of the field to produce and convey reliable information.
  3. The purpose of this article is to discuss various aspects of the forgery crisis, including some of the assumptions that foster it, and to propose various protocols for the field so as to protect the dataset of Northwest Semitic.


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