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RE: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?

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  • eliot braun
    Were it possible to verify the authenticity of the seal, then that would be a good approach. However, I think no one will ever be able to do so, and so you
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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      Were it possible to verify the authenticity of the seal, then that would be a good approach. However, I think no one will ever be able to do so, and so you would risk adding false information to a base of authentic data, and by doing so you would have done more damage to your field of study than should you decide to ignore it!

      I don't necessarily suggest ignoring it, but the very least you should do is question its authenticity and not rely on it for your results. Consider a curio and think what a devastating loss its unreliable provenance represents to epigraphic studies. Besides, without context just how much information does it impart, especially if the information may be false?


      victor <victor@...> wrote: I don’t want to get into the whole topic of provenanced vs unprovenanced
      artifacts and antiquities markets, etc. nor do I know much about mineralogy
      but if the two seals are suspected of coming from the same workshop I would
      be a fool not to test them physically to see if they were, perhaps from the
      same piece of stone to the extent that such a thing is scientifically
      demonstrable. If such a thing were to be shown, the unprovenanced item would
      have found its provenance.

      Best,

      Victor Hurowitz

      BGU

      _____

      From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Peter van der Veen
      Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 11:18 AM
      To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?

      Dear Eliot,

      I do not agree with you that this is not an acceptable approach. If one
      starts with the known - the provenanced piece from the legal excavation in
      Jerusalem - then one can compare unprovenanced pieces and only so we are
      able to establish a certain degree of probability re the authenticity of
      that other object (not vice versa!!!). Indeed in this case there is some
      evidence that both seals (the provenanced and the unprovenanced) could
      perhaps (!) have been produced in the same workshop. Regardless of whatever
      one may think of pieces acquired through the antiquity market, I for my part
      do believe (perhaps I am too much of an epigraphist!) that we cannot simply
      ignore the unprovenanced material. That is why I have decided to accept a
      mid-way approach. I always start from the known and only then consult what
      else has been found for reference only (but again I always check first what
      other provenanced comparable material is known, and only then I move on to
      the unprovenanced material, checking very carefully who own it, where and
      when (!) it was bought, and if accessible I tend to study the objects
      myself, before consulting other colleagues, etc. etc.).

      Best wishes
      Peter van der Veen, PhD

      -------- Original-Nachricht --------
      > Datum: Sun, 2 Mar 2008 23:51:09 -0800 (PST)
      > Von: eliot braun <eliotbraun@yahoo. <mailto:eliotbraun%40yahoo.com> com>
      > An: ANE-2@yahoogroups. <mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com> com
      > Betreff: Re: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?

      > Is the grandpa seal real? I've no idea, but....
      >
      > If the seal from the collection is not provenienced, and therefore may be
      > (or is even likely to be, given prices paid for such trinkets) a fake,
      then
      > its relevancy is questionable in the extreme, especially on this list,
      > which purports to deal with the ANCIENT Near East.
      >
      > The agenda for introducing this object is to obtain relevancy and
      > ostensible authenticity by association. That is not a proper scientific
      approach to
      > the study of these particularly interesting and important objects, which
      > come from undeniably ancient contexts.
      >
      > Dr West has, of course, the right to post what he wishes on his site. We
      > may also criticize his decision to do so, given the controversial nature
      of
      > the objects in that collection.
      >
      > Jim West <jwest@highland. <mailto:jwest%40highland.net> net> wrote: Robert
      > asked me to post this on the blog (since it includes a photo)
      > which I was more than happy to do.
      >
      > http://jwest.
      <http://jwest.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/deutsch-on-the-seals/>
      wordpress.com/2008/03/02/deutsch-on-the-seals/
      >
      > His comments too are relevant to the present 'seal' discussion.
      >
      > --
      > ++++++
      >
      > Jim West, ThD
      >
      > http://jwest. <http://jwest.wordpress.com> wordpress.com -- Blog
      > http://drjewest. <http://drjewest.googlepages.com> googlepages.com -
      Biblical Studies Resources
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Eliot Braun, Ph D
      > Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
      > Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
      > PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
      > Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096
      >
      > ---------------------------------
      > Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






      Eliot Braun, Ph D
      Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
      Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
      PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
      Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096

      ---------------------------------
      Looking for last minute shopping deals? Find them fast with Yahoo! Search.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • eliot braun
      No. What manner of proof is there for such an idea? ... From: eliot braun To: Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008
      Message 2 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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        No. What manner of proof is there for such an idea?

        Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "eliot braun" <eliotbraun@...>
        To: <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 1:51 AM
        Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?

        > Is the grandpa seal real? I've no idea, but....
        >
        > If the seal from the collection is not provenienced, and therefore may be
        > (or is even likely to be, given prices paid for such trinkets) a fake,
        > then its relevancy is questionable in the extreme, especially on this
        > list, which purports to deal with the ANCIENT Near East.
        >
        > The agenda for introducing this object is to obtain relevancy and
        > ostensible authenticity by association. That is not a proper scientific
        > approach to the study of these particularly interesting and important
        > objects, which come from undeniably ancient contexts.
        >
        > Dr West has, of course, the right to post what he wishes on his site. We
        > may also criticize his decision to do so, given the controversial nature
        > of the objects in that collection.
        >
        > Jim West <jwest@...> wrote: Robert
        > asked me to post this on the blog (since it includes a photo)
        > which I was more than happy to do.
        >
        > http://jwest.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/deutsch-on-the-seals/
        >
        > His comments too are relevant to the present 'seal' discussion.
        >
        > --
        > ++++++
        >
        > Jim West, ThD
        >
        > http://jwest.wordpress.com -- Blog
        > http://drjewest.googlepages.com - Biblical Studies Resources
        >

        Wouldn't you say that the discovery of the Refayahu bar Shalum seal in
        context verifies the authenticity of the unprovenanced father's seal?

        Jack

        Jack Kilmon
        San Antonio, TX






        Eliot Braun, Ph D
        Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
        Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
        PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
        Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096

        ---------------------------------
        Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Joe Zias
        Regarding the authenticity of the seal Jack Kilmon writes Wouldn t you say that the discovery of the Refayahu bar Shalum seal in context verifies the
        Message 3 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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          Regarding the authenticity of the seal Jack Kilmon writes " Wouldn't you say that the discovery of the Refayahu bar Shalum seal in context verifies the authenticity of the unprovenanced father's seal? The answer is no and Eliot Braun is 100 % correct regarding the problems associated with it. Let me give you a recent example : A few years back, colleagues in the IAA were visiting the site of Ein Gedi where the archaeologists excavating there were getting ready to call a press conference over a seal which they had found 'in-situ' with Jewish symbols. Naturally they were very excited over it until one of the more experienced archaeologists took one look at it and said it was forged. They were aghast as they had found it in the siftings however my colleague showed the professor why the the object was recently forged and was able to convince them to call off the press conference. It was clear what was happening, that this object was not one of a kind but another object similar
          to that either was in the hands of the dealers or would soon be, and by finding a similar object 'in-situ' would automatically 'kosher' the the other, Here it almost worked until a more experienced colleague spotted the forged object immediately. So Eliot is correct, one just has to understand how the 'game' is sometimes played out. I think here that Dr. West who is one of the more astute bloggers out there was wrong in 'hustling for D. by putting it out in his blog as there may be an agenda here.

          Joe Zias

          Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "eliot braun" <eliotbraun@...>
          To: <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 1:51 AM
          Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?

          > Is the grandpa seal real? I've no idea, but....
          >
          > If the seal from the collection is not provenienced, and therefore may be
          > (or is even likely to be, given prices paid for such trinkets) a fake,
          > then its relevancy is questionable in the extreme, especially on this
          > list, which purports to deal with the ANCIENT Near East.
          >
          > The agenda for introducing this object is to obtain relevancy and
          > ostensible authenticity by association. That is not a proper scientific
          > approach to the study of these particularly interesting and important
          > objects, which come from undeniably ancient contexts.
          >
          > Dr West has, of course, the right to post what he wishes on his site. We
          > may also criticize his decision to do so, given the controversial nature
          > of the objects in that collection.
          >
          > Jim West <jwest@...> wrote: Robert
          > asked me to post this on the blog (since it includes a photo)
          > which I was more than happy to do.
          >
          > http://jwest.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/deutsch-on-the-seals/
          >
          > His comments too are relevant to the present 'seal' discussion.
          >
          > --
          > ++++++
          >
          > Jim West, ThD
          >
          > http://jwest.wordpress.com -- Blog
          > http://drjewest.googlepages.com - Biblical Studies Resources
          >

          Wouldn't you say that the discovery of the Refayahu bar Shalum seal in
          context verifies the authenticity of the unprovenanced father's seal?

          Jack

          Jack Kilmon
          San Antonio, TX






          Joe Zias www.joezias.com
          Anthropology/Paleopathology

          Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
          Jerusalem, Israel



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Jack Kilmon
          The extreme unliklihood of a forger making up the name Shalum bar Refayahu and inscribing that on a seal with an identical design to a seal inscribed Refayahu
          Message 4 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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            The extreme unliklihood of a forger making up the name Shalum bar Refayahu
            and inscribing that on a seal with an identical design to a seal inscribed
            Refayahu bar Shalum excavated in Jerusalem in a context?


            Jack


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "eliot braun" <eliotbraun@...>
            To: <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 10:17 AM
            Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?


            > No. What manner of proof is there for such an idea?
            >
            > Jack Kilmon <jkilmon@...> wrote:
            > ----- Original Message -----
            > From: "eliot braun" <eliotbraun@...>
            > To: <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
            > Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 1:51 AM
            > Subject: Re: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?
            >
            > > Is the grandpa seal real? I've no idea, but....
            > >
            > > If the seal from the collection is not provenienced, and therefore may
            > > be
            > > (or is even likely to be, given prices paid for such trinkets) a fake,
            > > then its relevancy is questionable in the extreme, especially on this
            > > list, which purports to deal with the ANCIENT Near East.
            > >
            > > The agenda for introducing this object is to obtain relevancy and
            > > ostensible authenticity by association. That is not a proper scientific
            > > approach to the study of these particularly interesting and important
            > > objects, which come from undeniably ancient contexts.
            > >
            > > Dr West has, of course, the right to post what he wishes on his site. We
            > > may also criticize his decision to do so, given the controversial nature
            > > of the objects in that collection.
            > >
            > > Jim West <jwest@...> wrote:
            > > Robert
            > > asked me to post this on the blog (since it includes a photo)
            > > which I was more than happy to do.
            > >
            > > http://jwest.wordpress.com/2008/03/02/deutsch-on-the-seals/
            > >
            > > His comments too are relevant to the present 'seal' discussion.
            > >
            > > --
            > > ++++++
            > >
            > > Jim West, ThD
            > >
            > > http://jwest.wordpress.com -- Blog
            > > http://drjewest.googlepages.com - Biblical Studies Resources
            > >
            >
            > Wouldn't you say that the discovery of the Refayahu bar Shalum seal in
            > context verifies the authenticity of the unprovenanced father's seal?
            >
            > Jack
            >
            > Jack Kilmon
            > San Antonio, TX
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Eliot Braun, Ph D
            > Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
            > Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
            > PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
            > Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096
            >
            > ---------------------------------
            > Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • eliot braun
            I would suggest asking a scientific expert if such a test were possible. Peter van der Veen wrote: Dear
            Message 5 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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              I would suggest asking a scientific expert if such a test were possible.

              Peter van der Veen <van_der_Veen@...> wrote: Dear Victor,

              Yes indeed that is the right way to go about it. Only thus can we can we know for sure.
              Best wishes
              Peter van der Veen

              -------- Original-Nachricht --------
              > Datum: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 16:47:24 +0200
              > Von: "victor" <victor@...>
              > An: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
              > Betreff: RE: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut
              > etre?

              > I don�t want to get into the whole topic of provenanced vs
              > unprovenanced artifacts and antiquities markets, etc. nor do I
              > know much about mineralogy but if the two seals are suspected of
              > coming from the same workshop I would be a fool not to test them
              > physically to see if they were, perhaps from the same piece of
              > stone to the extent that such a thing is scientifically
              > demonstrable. If such a thing were to be shown, the unprovenanced
              > item would have found its provenance.
              >
              > Best,
              >
              > Victor Hurowitz
              >
              > BGU

              Eliot Braun, Ph D
              Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
              Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Fran�ais de J�rusalem
              PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
              Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096
            • eliot braun
              Fellow list members If what I ve spent the last 3 decades doing is worth something, and I d like to feel it is, then it is only so because what I ve done is
              Message 6 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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                Fellow list members
                If what I've spent the last 3 decades doing is worth something, and I'd like to feel it is, then it is only so because what I've done is try to increase human knowledge about the past. I'd like to think that trying to reconstruct what happened in ancient times is a serious game of puzzling out the truth through the archaeological record, i.e., a very incomplete set of evidence that has survived and which we must interpret. If we are to add garbage to that record, fakes and forgeries, then certain aspects of our discipline are corrupted. I, for one, think it is better to write "I don't know" or "I think, based on available evidence" that such and such was the case way back in the 4th millennium BCE. That's presenting the evidence and its interpretation.

                To know that someone has faked information, for whatever agenda, and added it to the archaeological-historical record is to corrupt the discipline and virtually make aspects of it worthless for understanding the past. It can be entertaining and perhaps even important for some folk (to wit certain tombs and objects), but it is not revealing what happened in the past. Its presenting fiction. Now I'm a lover of fiction and I think many of us are, but we ought not to mistake it as a true representation of the past.

                Here's a small example of something which I've been trying to figure out since ca. 1988. In 1989 or 1990 I published an article on basalt bowls of the EB I period in PEQ. I cited differences between them and those of the preceding Chalcolithic period. One type of unusual, 4 handled bowl, known only in EB I contexts, had, uniquely for all examples I've ever seen (scores of them), triangular incisions on its rim; a style of decoration known otherwise in the southern Levant on bowls of the Late Chalcolithic period. That bowl was from a collection and of unknown provenience and published by Ruth Amiran. Another bowl of the same morphology in the same article was confiscated from an antiquities collector, only it had carved it in in relief on 2 opposite sides, a goat-like representation with long horns, similar to representations from the Chalcolithic Nahal Mishmar hoard. In a century of archaeological exploration there is no evidence of such iconography in EB I, to date.

                These 4 handled bowls appear, so far as I understand, in developed EB I, perhaps several centuries after the beginning of EB I and so, in time, rather distant from the Chalcolithic period. How can this time lag in the appearance of these typical Chalcolithic motifs be explained? It can't, rationally, and I've always wondered whether Ruth Amiran wasn't bamboozled by someone, or someones, as to the bona fides of two non-provenienced vessels. And in turn, perhaps I was, because I cited her article, one of the only published information on these bowls.

                I have no answer to this question, but I feel unquiet about it. I wish I were able to verify the authenticity of these objects.

                I hope this encourages some of you to think of the consequences of using non-provenienced objects in serious studies.






                Eliot Braun, Ph D
                Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
                Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Français de Jérusalem
                PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
                Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096

                ---------------------------------
                Never miss a thing. Make Yahoo your homepage.

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Jack Kilmon
                There are several non-destructive spectroscopic tests that can determine if the seals are made from same-source material. Jack Kilmon ... From: eliot braun
                Message 7 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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                  There are several non-destructive spectroscopic tests that can determine if
                  the seals are made from same-source material.

                  Jack Kilmon


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "eliot braun" <eliotbraun@...>
                  To: <ANE-2@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Monday, March 03, 2008 3:12 PM
                  Subject: Re: RE: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut etre?


                  >I would suggest asking a scientific expert if such a test were possible.
                  >
                  > Peter van der Veen <van_der_Veen@...> wrote:
                  > Dear Victor,
                  >
                  > Yes indeed that is the right way to go about it. Only thus can we can we
                  > know for sure.
                  > Best wishes
                  > Peter van der Veen
                  >
                  > -------- Original-Nachricht --------
                  > > Datum: Mon, 3 Mar 2008 16:47:24 +0200
                  > > Von: "victor" <victor@...>
                  > > An: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  > > Betreff: RE: [ANE-2] Deutsch on the latest seals, an agenda peut
                  > > etre?
                  >
                  > > I don�t want to get into the whole topic of provenanced vs
                  > > unprovenanced artifacts and antiquities markets, etc. nor do I
                  > > know much about mineralogy but if the two seals are suspected of
                  > > coming from the same workshop I would be a fool not to test them
                  > > physically to see if they were, perhaps from the same piece of
                  > > stone to the extent that such a thing is scientifically
                  > > demonstrable. If such a thing were to be shown, the unprovenanced
                  > > item would have found its provenance.
                  > >
                  > > Best,
                  > >
                  > > Victor Hurowitz
                  > >
                  > > BGU
                  >
                  > Eliot Braun, Ph D
                  > Sr. Fellow WF Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem
                  > Associate Researcher Centre de Recherche Fran�ais de J�rusalem
                  > PO Box 21, Har Adar 90836 Israel
                  > Tel 972-2-5345687, Cell 972-50-2231096
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • cejo@uchicago.edu
                  And not just fakes and forgeries. For thoughts on many of these isses, see David Gill s blog _Looting Matters_: http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/ -Chuck
                  Message 8 of 15 , Mar 3, 2008
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                    And not just fakes and forgeries. For thoughts on many of these isses, see David Gill's blog _Looting Matters_:
                    http://lootingmatters.blogspot.com/

                    -Chuck Jones-
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