Antiquities Forger "Outed" by Bob Simon and 60 Minutes
- Colleagues, as Eric Cline and Joseph Lauer brought our attention to the James Ossuary/Jehoash Tablet segment on Sunday's 60 Minutes in which the Egyptian gets 'outed' by Bob Simon, admitted having worked with Oded Golan for 15 yrs, manufacturing 'antiquities' I would like to point out his amazement when told, that some of those items were being marketed for millions of dollars. His reply that it was a bit difficult to believe, as some of these items were mud, difficult to read, brings to mind some of those bullae which are now on trial, belonging to Oded Golan and others... This leaves us with the question, which of our colleagues supplied the expertise and the text and will BAR put this new information on their web site along with one New World 'Blogger', perhaps the only one still supporting them . There are only a handful of epigrapher's out there which have gained this degree of competence. However, like the Talpiot film when you have 3.5 million dollars riding on
it, a colleague or two will sell out to the media, collectors, dealers, usually for a lot less.
Several decades ago a Calif. Univ. threatened legal sanctions against a German mfg. for mfg and selling amber with insects, altered in such a way, that without lab tests, it was impossible to tell if the amber was ancient as the insects 'looked old'. Here it was clear that someone with higher education was involved in this altering process which was causing a lot of problems for science. Last word that I heard on it was that the German mfg. said 'it's none of your business' whereas the CA. Univ. said it is ours, when scientists get involved in forging objects whether it's amber or antiquities. Here with the inscribed material mfg in Egypt, it's clear, as with the amber, that a colleague is involved and the circle is getting tighter. Colleagues being involved is a red line...which has been crossed. Remember the Jehoash inscription was an attempt to re-write Biblical history, not just 4 million dollars, an even worse academic crime here in the ANE.
Joe Zias www.joezias.com
Science and Antiquity Group - Jerusalem
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
I'm certain that, if he had thought it changed his thesis, George would have referenced your article on tool slippage. In fact he may have. Does anyone know of such a reference?
R. Brian Roberts
Amateur Researcher in Biblical Archaeology
Your impressions of Athas' research are not entirely accurate. George
Athas' book is well researched and he is a fine scholar. However, to my knowledge
George has neither touched nor picked up the Tel Dan stele (which surely
requires machinery to lift !). Rather, he studied it (front surfaces only)
housed behind its plexiglass shield at the Israel Museum as have I and as have
all other scholars since it was first put on display. The only time that it
has emerged from behind its plexiglass in recent years was when it went on tour
in America, and unfortunately Schniedewind et al prevented it from being
properly scientifically examined during that rare opportunity.
Unfortunately Athas did not have the benefit of my SJOT article on Tool
Slippage when he wrote his book, so his book does not adequately address the
evidence suggesting the possibility of forgery there discussed. In all fairness
he does however raise other points suggestive of its authenticity. I
consider the question of authenticity undecided and in fact undecidable without a
proper scientific examination, which George also supports as desirable in
amicable discussions on this list (or perhaps its earlier incarnation ANE). I
have no desire to resurrect the discussion - those interested can find it in the
archives and the original literature.
I have George Athas' book and consider it compellingâ¦.
Although its not written in stone (pun intended) I think he makes the
strongest case for his arrangement. He has touched it, picked it up and
examined it. That part is beyond my expertise and experience so I go with
what seems to be the most cogent argument. Until someone, including George
himself, comes up with a different scheme that is convincing, yes, I do.