I hate when that happens.
Finds that made Basques proud are fake, say experts
The Guardian [UK], November 24 2008
It was hailed as an archeological discovery of global importance
showing, among other things, the oldest representation of Christ on the
cross and proof that ancient Egyptian influences had survived deep in
Roman Spain. For traditional Basques the pictures, symbols and words
found scraped onto pieces of third century pottery dug up near the town
of Nanclares, in northern Spain, included miraculous evidence that their
unique language of Euskara was far older than ever thought. Eighteen
months ago the dig's director, Eliseo Gil, claimed that some finds at
the Roman town known as Veleia were on par with those at Pompeii or Rome
itself. Basque nationalists bristled with pride. This archeological
jewel gave them a far greater claim to a distinctive, millennial and
Christian culture than they had dreamed possible. Now a committee of
experts has revealed those jewels to be fakes. "They are either a joke
or a fraud," said Martín Almagro, a professor in prehistory from
Madrid. "How has something like this been taken seriously for so long?"
The hunt is on for an archeological fraudster who defaced fragments of
third century pottery with fake graffiti.