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Re: Forgery and Unprovenanced artifacts

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  • arenmaeir
    Peter, Just for the record (following your last post), a rather well-based rumour (and nevertheless a rumour) has it that a well-known person involved in the
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 7, 2008
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      Peter,
      Just for the record (following your last post), a rather well-based
      rumour (and nevertheless a rumour) has it that a well-known person
      involved in the sale of archaeological items did in fact "salt" a
      well-known archaeological site with non-provenanced archaeological
      objects!

      Sorry, but I can't go into any more details, for fear of being
      brought to court for libel...

      As I wrote somewhere else - Qui culpae ignoscit uni, suadet pluribus.
      (The one who excuses one fault ends up encouraging it in many others)


      Aren Maeir
      gath.wordpress.com

      P.S. For all those following these discussions - instead of whining
      about non-provenanced antiquities - come join us as we uncover
      PROVENANCED antiquities (July 6th - August 1st, 20008) at Tell es-
      Safi/Gath (http://www.biu.ac.il/js/le/1.pdf).
    • Yitzhak Sapir
      ... The subject of planting artifacts at sites was dealt with previously on the list in other contexts. Joe Zias described his experiences with a coffin at
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 7, 2008
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        On Feb 7, 2008 11:06 AM, Aren Maeir wrote:
        > Peter,
        > Just for the record (following your last post), a rather well-based
        > rumour (and nevertheless a rumour) has it that a well-known person
        > involved in the sale of archaeological items did in fact "salt" a
        > well-known archaeological site with non-provenanced archaeological
        > objects!
        >
        > Sorry, but I can't go into any more details, for fear of being
        > brought to court for libel...
        >
        > As I wrote somewhere else - Qui culpae ignoscit uni, suadet pluribus.
        > (The one who excuses one fault ends up encouraging it in many others)

        The subject of planting artifacts at sites was dealt with previously on the
        list in other contexts.

        Joe Zias described his experiences with a coffin at Qumran:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/1345
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/1607
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/6040

        Robert Whiting noted this by reference to the Piltdown Man:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/1631

        Robert Deutsch spoke of the practice in older times:
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/6395

        All of these do not suggest forgeries of the artifacts, but Brian
        Colless dealt with the Phaistos disc as a planted forgery:
        https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2005-January/016604.html

        and Greg Doudna among others dealt with Tel Dan:
        https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2005-February/017725.html

        Yitzhak Sapir
      • B.E.Colless
        https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2005-January/016604.html Yitzhak, Thanks for reminding me of that! I am just responding to Tristan Carter et al,
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 7, 2008
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          https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2005-January/016604.html

          Yitzhak,

          Thanks for reminding me of that!

          I am just responding to Tristan Carter et al, genetic evidence about
          Bronze-Age Crete: newcomers from Syria-Palestine and East Aegean/NW
          Anatolia.

          [Differential Y-chromosome Anatolian influences on the Greek and Cretan
          NeolithicÂ’ Annals of Human Genetics 72(2) (2008): 1-10 (205-214)]

          This suggests Semitic-speaking people (let's call them Semites!), and
          Trojans or Etruscans (!).

          Anyway, I surmise that the Semites went south to Phaistos (and Hagia
          Triada), where the accountancy documents use the term KU-RO for 'total',
          possibly Semitic kull (Cyrus Gordon). There are Semitic words and names
          (example: TINITA could be the West Semitic goddess) on the Linear A tablets
          from the south.

          Knossos, on the northern part of the island, would have been the home of the
          other group, from the far north-east of the Aegean. They devised the
          picto-syllabic script that became Linear A, and then Linear B (used by
          Mycenean Greeks)

          How the very ancient Phaistos Disc, with its picto-phonetic text, fits into
          this picture is a puzzle, but it might be Semitic rather than Anatolian or
          Hellenic.

          It has a script that was inspired by the West Semitic logo-syllabary (23rd
          C), I presume, but it is not the same as the similar picto-phonetic
          syllabary found in the north of Crete.

          Today I was looking at the 30 accountancy tablets from Phaistos (as distinct
          from adjacent Hagia Triada, where the Linear A script was used, a stylized
          form of the northern picto-phonetic script}. Most seem to be Linear A, but a
          few have signs from the Phaistos Disc, notably PH 12 (signs 14, 1, 22, 27);
          PH 13 has a fish (Phaistos Disc sign 35), which is not found in the northern
          picto-syllabary or its descendant, Linear A. If this is a discovery I have
          made, it will still not help us read the Phaistos Disc!

          My hypothesis looks untidy, but I am arguing for two scripts in Bronze-Age
          Crete, invented by the two groups of settlers.

          For the moment, in the light of the new genetic evidence I am thinking once
          again that a Semitic approach should be taken to some, most, or all of the
          religious texts written in Linear A script on cultic objects.

          An East Semitic as well as a West Semitic test should be applied (Cyrus
          Gordon wavered between both), since Akkadian was the international language
          in those times.

          And, by the way, the Gubla/Byblos logo-syllabic documents (as deciphered by
          George Mendenhall) also need more probing by scholars who have expertise in
          Western and Eastern Semitic texts.

          Brian Colless
          Massey University, NZ

          > From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir@...>
          > Reply-To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          > Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 13:02:44 +0200
          > To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Re: Forgery and Unprovenanced artifacts
          >

          > All of these do not suggest forgeries of the artifacts, but Brian
          > Colless dealt with the Phaistos disc as a planted forgery:
          > https://listhost.uchicago.edu/pipermail/ane/2005-January/016604.html
          >

          > Yitzhak Sapir
          >
        • lmlkes
          Dear Dr. Peter van der Veen and Listers, Hi!!! I appreciate your very kind reply. As far as the genuineness of the two Royal Bullae of King Hezekiah goes, I am
          Message 4 of 8 , Feb 7, 2008
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            Dear Dr. Peter van der Veen and Listers, Hi!!! I appreciate your very
            kind reply. As far as the genuineness of the two Royal Bullae of King
            Hezekiah goes, I am going by Professor Yuval Goren's comments on this
            list. If you need another test, I remember at least one bulla being
            burnt black. Like I have said a few times before, thermoluminescence
            would be another way to authenticate the burnt ones, and it would be
            probably more scientific. I agree with you in general that a
            provenanced object usually has a provenance. I was just saying(really
            in passing) that you really have to look at provenanced material
            closely too. When was it excavated; how was it excavated; is there a
            specific find spot; how was it dated; are there pictures; is there
            the actual object itself left, sometimes the provenience is just an
            AREA, as I explained earlier about provenience listed in Dr. Walter
            Aufrect's Ammonite Corpus Book, etc. You can go to museums and find a
            description card and no object(and no picture)left; you can find
            objects interspersed with other objects, so you do not know if for
            instance if LMLK handles came from an excavation in Jerusalem or Tell
            Zachariah. I know of 107 LMLK Handles excavated by Dame Kathleen
            Kenyon in Jerusalem in the late 1960s that have Never been published,
            etc. I would like to challenge you on your analysis of the letters of
            the ShLMT seal. You date them to the mid-6th to mid-5th Centurys.
            What if I told you on the LMLK two-winged sun disc seals that all
            FOUR letters are represented on the MMST types when you combine the
            two seals!!!!! Even your Aramaic T is represented on the MMST
            undivided bottom inscription LMLK seal. Iconography is rather rare in
            our Hebrew Corpus, but like I have said in earlier posts bearded
            Hebrew men are known on the Governor of the City Bullae, which are
            pre-exilic. I see no basis to jump to a post-exilic date on this
            seal, but I agree with Dr. Byrne for a pre-exilic date. I welcome
            Your Comments.
            With Much Gratitude,
            Sincerely Yours,
            Michael Welch
            Deltona, Florida
            --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Peter van der Veen"
            <van_der_Veen@...> wrote:
            >
            > Dear Mike,
            >
            > Thank you for your concern to discuss the authenticated Hezekiah
            bullae. I am glad you did. When they are shown to be genuine, then we
            should be happy about it.
            >
            > But I do not like so much your definition of unprovenanced when a
            seal or bulla comes from an archaeological site. Of course you are
            completely right that the exact context of several seals and bullae
            is not known. E.g. the famous Gedalyahu 'sr 'lhbyt bulla from Lachish
            was not stratified contrary to what many believe even in print (it
            probably did come originally from Stratum II, but its findspot does
            not tell us). Still they are not unprovenanced. We know from which
            site they come, something we unfortunately do not normally know with
            unprovenanced pieces acquired from the antiquities market. Surely
            nobody having 'faked' a piece or worse having discovered a genuine
            piece somewhere on the surface at an unknown site would throw it away
            on a spoil heap at an archaeological site, just to entertain
            archaeologists. Hence I would differentiate between unstratified and
            unprovenanced. An unstratified find still has priority over an
            unprovenanced piece. I agree with you that the latter class cannot be
            simply ignored, but they must be used wisely and with great prudence.
            >
            > Best
            > Peter van der Veen PhD
            >
            > -------- Original-Nachricht --------
            > > Datum: Wed, 06 Feb 2008 22:35:03 -0000
            > > Von: "lmlkes" <mbj11@...>
            > > An: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            > > Betreff: [ANE-2] Re: Forgery and Unprovenanced artifacts (was:
            Ryan Byrne\'s commentary on the $lmt seal: Seals of Women, Epigraphy,
            Iconogr)
            >
            > > Dear Mr. Sapir and Listers, Hi!!! I Thank You for taking the time
            to
            > > write your reply. I respect your position, and I understand it.
            You
            > > want to be very careful. I do too. Concerning your question what
            can
            > > we learn from unprovenanced material, I can say that from the two
            > > unprovenanced bullae that have recently been authenticated by
            > > Professor Goren, we can learn several things. On one bulla there
            is a
            > > two-winged sun disc whose central device, a sun orb with six
            rays,
            > > three on the top and three on the bottom, (probably reflecting a
            > > Hittite in orgin type sun disc), shows up as the central device
            on
            > > thirteen two-winged sun disc LMLK seals of King Hezekiah. On King
            > > Hezekiah's second unprovenanced bulla we have more of an Egyptian
            > > iconographical device, a two-winged scarab. King Hezekiah chose a
            > > four-winged scarab on the other eight LMLK seals that were used
            to
            > > seal jars during his reign. In addition to the icongraphy, we
            learn
            > > how King Hezekiah spelled his name and that he was the King of
            Judah.
            > > >From unprovenanced material, hundreds of Hebrew names have also
            been
            > > added to the Hebrew Onomasticon and some iconography as well. I
            > > respect your position if you want to throw away, in an
            intellectual
            > > sense, all of the unprovenanced material out there. I just would
            not
            > > do it personally. I, like I said before, am very grateful to men
            like
            > > Dr. Nahman Avigad, and a long list of others of course, who were
            > > willing to devote their lives to figuring out all of the
            > > unprovenanced material out there as best they can. Guesses, yes I
            am
            > > willing to make guesses, just like Dr. Avigad and any other
            scholar,
            > > until the guess can be confirmed or disregarded. This is the way
            > > scholarship works, especially since there is not usually a
            written
            > > record sitting right by the object(s) being excavated. You have
            to be
            > > careful too when you classify objects as provenanced. What were
            the
            > > methods used while excavating(were the methods accurate and
            > > scientific), was it a surface find, etc. Some sites were
            excavated,
            > > but the excavation reports were never written, so is this
            material
            > > unprovenanced, etc. Concerning more examples of the "lame bet"
            there
            > > is a City of David bulla, 'Elishama' son of Yeho'ab where both
            bets
            > > are pretty "lame." This bulla was actually excavated by Professor
            > > Shiloh and is found on page 59 of Ancient Jerusalem Revealed
            edited
            > > by Hillel Geva(1994). The other example is the top register HBRN
            > > seal, a two-winged sun disc type excavated at Gibeon by Dr. James
            B.
            > > Pritchard. I hope that I have answered your questions.
            > > With Much Gratitude,
            > > Sincerely Yours,
            > > Michael Welch
            > > Deltona, Florida
            > > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir@>
            > > wrote:
            > > >
            > > > On Feb 5, 2008 7:00 PM, Michael Welch wrote:
            > > >
            > > > > Dear Mr. Sapir and Listers, Hi!!! I Thank You for your
            interesting
            > > > > reply. I Thank You for the link to the seal also. You are not
            > > really
            > > > > serious about ignoring the unprovenanced material; are you???
            You
            > > have
            > > > > been writing about the UNPROVENANCED seal of Ezra for the
            past few
            > > > > weeks.
            > > >
            > > > Of course I am serious. Please explain to me what I could
            learn
            > > from an
            > > > unprovenanced artifact whose authenticity is in doubt that I
            could
            > > not learn
            > > > from a properly excavated one. I'll never know if anything new
            > > that appears
            > > > in the unprovenanced artifact is really something authentic but
            not
            > > previously
            > > > known, or an example of the artifact's lack of authenticity.
            This
            > > means that
            > > > nothing new can be learned from these artifacts. There are,
            > > however,
            > > > different classes of unprovenanced artifacts. First, if the
            > > iconography on the
            > > > Ezra seal was unique, it is reasonable to assume that it is
            > > authentic if we
            > > > now find the iconography on a properly excavated seal.
            However, the
            > > > iconography is not unique. Other classes of unprovenanced
            > > artifacts might
            > > > include artifacts from the Temple Mount, which were not
            excavated
            > > in a regular
            > > > dig, but their provenance from the Temple Mt is certain.
            Moreover,
            > > I was under
            > > > the (false) impression that the 1970s were still unaffected by
            the
            > > > forgeries that
            > > > are known from the 1980s on. However, even before reading
            Lenny
            > > Wolfe's
            > > > article carefully, I had had a feeling that some of the
            artifacts
            > > from
            > > > the 1970s
            > > > that appeared on the antiquities market were too good to be
            true,
            > > and I should
            > > > be suspicious. In view of Wolfe's article, I therefore find it
            > > > impossible to trust
            > > > anything from the 1970s as well. Thus, I agree with you that I
            was
            > > not careful
            > > > enough, and that the Ezra seal, from the late 1970s, has good
            > > reason for
            > > > suspicion as a forgery and should be ignored. A better example
            for
            > > comparison
            > > > is the seal excavated in Samaria.
            > > >
            > > > To give a specific example, let us take the "Lame Bet" issue.
            On
            > > how many
            > > > provenanced artifacts is it found? I understand you claim that
            it
            > > is found on
            > > > the Tel Zayit stone. I don't know about that -- the conclusion
            is
            > > based on
            > > > G.M. Grena's drawing, and I think for such a conclusion only an
            > > expert
            > > > examination of the stone will suffice. But even assuming that
            is
            > > true, how
            > > > do you know if your "Lame Bet" on the Zayit stone is indicated
            of a
            > > very
            > > > rare feature that was present only in the 10th century or if it
            was
            > > an element
            > > > that began in the 10th century and remained rare but in the
            period
            > > of the
            > > > return suddenly enjoyed a greater distribution? You don't! It
            is
            > > your guess.
            > > > Guesses, however, are not sufficient to teach us anything about
            the
            > > history
            > > > of Israel.
            > > >
            > > > Yitzhak Sapir
            > > >
            > >
            > >
            >
          • lmlkes
            Dear Dr. Peter van der Veen and Listers, Hi!!! Here are some more details on Iconography and Epigraphy. The finds from Tell el Mazar and the finds from Tel
            Message 5 of 8 , Feb 9, 2008
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              Dear Dr. Peter van der Veen and Listers, Hi!!! Here are some more
              details on Iconography and Epigraphy. The finds from Tell el Mazar
              and the finds from Tel Goren or Ein or En-gedi are discussed in Dr.
              Ephraim Stern's mammoth sized book En-Gedi Excavations I Final Report
              (1961-1965)(2007) on pages 256-257. On page 256 there are pictures of
              two Neo-Babylonian Seals. I agree with Dr. van der Veen that these
              seals are to be generally dated to 550 to 450 B.C. The problem is
              these seals are not good parallels with the seal of ShLMT. The seal
              of ShLMT is scaraboidal whereas these Neo-Babylonian seals are
              usually pyramidal conical or pyramidal octagonal, and are usually
              made from higher quality stone like chalcedony or agate. There is
              usually only ONE schematic priest figure before an even more
              schematic altar. Mr. Yitzhak Sapir in an earlier post mentioned in
              passing a seal that was excavated in Samaria. I believe it is WSS
              1078. These types of seals with TWO figures which are less schematic
              are more closer parallels to the seal of ShLMT. This WSS 1078 is very
              close but is not dated. Other seals include WSS 1026 in the Moabite
              section. It could easily be Hebrew because it has the extra tick on
              the Yod, which is characteristic of the Samaria Ostraca and the LMLK
              Ziph two-winged sun disc seals. It is dated to the 8th -7th
              Centuries. There is also in the Moabite section WSS 1043 (7th Cent.),
              1044 (7th Cent.) and 1047 (Not Dated). Under Edomite there is WSS
              1053 (early 6th). Under Moabite or Edomite seals there is WSS 1058
              (Not Dated), which looks very close. In the Phoenician section there
              is WSS 738 (9th-8th Cents.) In the Hebrew section there is WSS 154
              (No Date) and WSS 402 A, B, ( Dated mid-7th Cent. in Avigad's Hebrew
              Bullae Book). I am sure that I missed a few seals. These Two Figure
              scaraboidal parallels seem to be the seals to concentrate on. Like I
              mentioned previously we have all FOUR Hebrew letters contained on
              excavated LMLK MMShT two-winged sun disc seals in Jerusalem and
              Lachish, that are firmly dated to the late eighth century. There is
              no need to go to the Aramaic laguage when this is a Hebrew
              inscription found in a specific find spot in Jerusalem. These further
              arguments combined with Dr. Byrne's examples make a pre-exilic date
              seem much more likely. I look forward to Your Comments.
              With Much Gratitude,
              Sincerely Yours,
              Michael Welch
              Deltona, Florida
              --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Peter van der Veen"
              <van_der_Veen@...> wrote:
              >
              > Dear Mike,
              >
              > Thank you for your concern to discuss the authenticated Hezekiah
              bullae. I am glad you did. When they are shown to be genuine, then we
              should be happy about it.
              >
              > But I do not like so much your definition of unprovenanced when a
              seal or bulla comes from an archaeological site. Of course you are
              completely right that the exact context of several seals and bullae
              is not known. E.g. the famous Gedalyahu 'sr 'lhbyt bulla from Lachish
              was not stratified contrary to what many believe even in print (it
              probably did come originally from Stratum II, but its findspot does
              not tell us). Still they are not unprovenanced. We know from which
              site they come, something we unfortunately do not normally know with
              unprovenanced pieces acquired from the antiquities market. Surely
              nobody having 'faked' a piece or worse having discovered a genuine
              piece somewhere on the surface at an unknown site would throw it away
              on a spoil heap at an archaeological site, just to entertain
              archaeologists. Hence I would differentiate between unstratified and
              unprovenanced. An unstratified find still has priority over an
              unprovenanced piece. I agree with you that the latter class cannot be
              simply ignored, but they must be used wisely and with great prudence.
              >
              > Best
              > Peter van der Veen PhD
              >
              > -------- Original-Nachricht --------
              > > Datum: Wed, 06 Feb 2008 22:35:03 -0000
              > > Von: "lmlkes" <mbj11@...>
              > > An: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              > > Betreff: [ANE-2] Re: Forgery and Unprovenanced artifacts (was:
              Ryan Byrne\'s commentary on the $lmt seal: Seals of Women, Epigraphy,
              Iconogr)
              >
              > > Dear Mr. Sapir and Listers, Hi!!! I Thank You for taking the time
              to
              > > write your reply. I respect your position, and I understand it.
              You
              > > want to be very careful. I do too. Concerning your question what
              can
              > > we learn from unprovenanced material, I can say that from the two
              > > unprovenanced bullae that have recently been authenticated by
              > > Professor Goren, we can learn several things. On one bulla there
              is a
              > > two-winged sun disc whose central device, a sun orb with six
              rays,
              > > three on the top and three on the bottom, (probably reflecting a
              > > Hittite in orgin type sun disc), shows up as the central device
              on
              > > thirteen two-winged sun disc LMLK seals of King Hezekiah. On King
              > > Hezekiah's second unprovenanced bulla we have more of an Egyptian
              > > iconographical device, a two-winged scarab. King Hezekiah chose a
              > > four-winged scarab on the other eight LMLK seals that were used
              to
              > > seal jars during his reign. In addition to the icongraphy, we
              learn
              > > how King Hezekiah spelled his name and that he was the King of
              Judah.
              > > >From unprovenanced material, hundreds of Hebrew names have also
              been
              > > added to the Hebrew Onomasticon and some iconography as well. I
              > > respect your position if you want to throw away, in an
              intellectual
              > > sense, all of the unprovenanced material out there. I just would
              not
              > > do it personally. I, like I said before, am very grateful to men
              like
              > > Dr. Nahman Avigad, and a long list of others of course, who were
              > > willing to devote their lives to figuring out all of the
              > > unprovenanced material out there as best they can. Guesses, yes I
              am
              > > willing to make guesses, just like Dr. Avigad and any other
              scholar,
              > > until the guess can be confirmed or disregarded. This is the way
              > > scholarship works, especially since there is not usually a
              written
              > > record sitting right by the object(s) being excavated. You have
              to be
              > > careful too when you classify objects as provenanced. What were
              the
              > > methods used while excavating(were the methods accurate and
              > > scientific), was it a surface find, etc. Some sites were
              excavated,
              > > but the excavation reports were never written, so is this
              material
              > > unprovenanced, etc. Concerning more examples of the "lame bet"
              there
              > > is a City of David bulla, 'Elishama' son of Yeho'ab where both
              bets
              > > are pretty "lame." This bulla was actually excavated by Professor
              > > Shiloh and is found on page 59 of Ancient Jerusalem Revealed
              edited
              > > by Hillel Geva(1994). The other example is the top register HBRN
              > > seal, a two-winged sun disc type excavated at Gibeon by Dr. James
              B.
              > > Pritchard. I hope that I have answered your questions.
              > > With Much Gratitude,
              > > Sincerely Yours,
              > > Michael Welch
              > > Deltona, Florida
              > > --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir@>
              > > wrote:
              > > >
              > > > On Feb 5, 2008 7:00 PM, Michael Welch wrote:
              > > >
              > > > > Dear Mr. Sapir and Listers, Hi!!! I Thank You for your
              interesting
              > > > > reply. I Thank You for the link to the seal also. You are not
              > > really
              > > > > serious about ignoring the unprovenanced material; are you???
              You
              > > have
              > > > > been writing about the UNPROVENANCED seal of Ezra for the
              past few
              > > > > weeks.
              > > >
              > > > Of course I am serious. Please explain to me what I could
              learn
              > > from an
              > > > unprovenanced artifact whose authenticity is in doubt that I
              could
              > > not learn
              > > > from a properly excavated one. I'll never know if anything new
              > > that appears
              > > > in the unprovenanced artifact is really something authentic but
              not
              > > previously
              > > > known, or an example of the artifact's lack of authenticity.
              This
              > > means that
              > > > nothing new can be learned from these artifacts. There are,
              > > however,
              > > > different classes of unprovenanced artifacts. First, if the
              > > iconography on the
              > > > Ezra seal was unique, it is reasonable to assume that it is
              > > authentic if we
              > > > now find the iconography on a properly excavated seal.
              However, the
              > > > iconography is not unique. Other classes of unprovenanced
              > > artifacts might
              > > > include artifacts from the Temple Mount, which were not
              excavated
              > > in a regular
              > > > dig, but their provenance from the Temple Mt is certain.
              Moreover,
              > > I was under
              > > > the (false) impression that the 1970s were still unaffected by
              the
              > > > forgeries that
              > > > are known from the 1980s on. However, even before reading
              Lenny
              > > Wolfe's
              > > > article carefully, I had had a feeling that some of the
              artifacts
              > > from
              > > > the 1970s
              > > > that appeared on the antiquities market were too good to be
              true,
              > > and I should
              > > > be suspicious. In view of Wolfe's article, I therefore find it
              > > > impossible to trust
              > > > anything from the 1970s as well. Thus, I agree with you that I
              was
              > > not careful
              > > > enough, and that the Ezra seal, from the late 1970s, has good
              > > reason for
              > > > suspicion as a forgery and should be ignored. A better example
              for
              > > comparison
              > > > is the seal excavated in Samaria.
              > > >
              > > > To give a specific example, let us take the "Lame Bet" issue.
              On
              > > how many
              > > > provenanced artifacts is it found? I understand you claim that
              it
              > > is found on
              > > > the Tel Zayit stone. I don't know about that -- the conclusion
              is
              > > based on
              > > > G.M. Grena's drawing, and I think for such a conclusion only an
              > > expert
              > > > examination of the stone will suffice. But even assuming that
              is
              > > true, how
              > > > do you know if your "Lame Bet" on the Zayit stone is indicated
              of a
              > > very
              > > > rare feature that was present only in the 10th century or if it
              was
              > > an element
              > > > that began in the 10th century and remained rare but in the
              period
              > > of the
              > > > return suddenly enjoyed a greater distribution? You don't! It
              is
              > > your guess.
              > > > Guesses, however, are not sufficient to teach us anything about
              the
              > > history
              > > > of Israel.
              > > >
              > > > Yitzhak Sapir
              > > >
              > >
              > >
              >
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