An ancient Greek statue confiscated last month from suspected smugglers and described as «priceless» is actually a fake, a culture ministry source said on Tuesday.
“A closer examination found moulding marks and bubble traces, leading to the conclusion that the statue is a copy,» suggesting the statue had been cast rather than sculpted, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The 1.2-metre statue of a kore, an archaic maiden, was found last week in a sheep pen in the Fyli district northwest of Athens, bordering the countryside.
An inspecting archaeologist said the sculpture was «unique» and of «priceless historical value», police said at the time.
But ministry experts later found it was an identical copy of a statue found on the Acropolis in Athens in 1886, down to its missing left arm and lower section. Read more.
A current exhibition in Neuchatel, Switzerland features the most outrageous frauds from the world of archeology, from fake skulls to dragons made from the remains of sting rays. It also reveals that people have been making fake artifacts for thousands of years.
In 1563, the servants of Anton Waldbott von Bassenheim, a German imperial knight, went into his lavish vineyards to cultivate the vines. Suddenly one of the workers stumbled across a Roman grave site. It contained coins and a black urn filled with bones. The urn itself wasn’t enough for the nobleman, who had it embellished with a silver rim. Afterwards, he boasted that the urn was real.
Which it no longer was.
The urn is now part of an exhibition in the Swiss city of Neuchatel that features astonishing forgeries from various periods of history. The show at the Laténium archeology museum includes busts of pharaohs produced in the winding alleys of Cairo, imitation Etruscan vases and gilded druid sickles, all made with the intention to deceive.
“L’âge du Faux” (“The Age of Forgeries”) brings one into a shadowy world of criminal artists, dealers in stolen goods and scientists so filled with ambition that they quickly allowed themselves to be fooled. Read more.
Seventy metal books allegedly discovered in a cave in Jordan have been hailed as the earliest Christian documents. Dating them to mere decades after Jesus’ death, scholars have called the “lead codices” the most important discovery in archaeological history, and leading media outlets have added fuel to the fire surrounding the books in recent weeks.
“Never has there been a discovery of relics on this scale from the early Christian movement, in its homeland and so early in its history,” reported the BBC.
Slowly, though, more and more questions have arisen about the authenticity of the codices, whose credit-card-size pages are cast in lead and bound together by lead rings. Today, an Aramaic translator has completed his analysis of the artifacts, and has found what he says is incontrovertible evidence that they are fakes. Read more.