‘Dead Sea Scrolls fragments’ at Museum of the Bible are all fakes, study says

Washington museum hired experts to examine acquires from controversial Post-2 002 collection

When Steve Green paid millions of dollars from his family fortune for 16 scraps of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, it appears to be the perfect addition to their brand-new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC.

But now experts have confirmed what has long been believed: the artefacts proudly displayed in the nation’s capital by the owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores are not part of one of the more important archaeological acquisitions of all time.

They are worthless forgeries, probably made from old-fashioned shoe leather.

Confirmation of the deceive came in a report published online by a crew of five art fraud researchers, after a two-day conference at the museum focusing on the extensive testing of the expected move fragments was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The professionals devoted six months analyzing each fragment, concluding a study born from 2017 disclosures that the lucrative international trade in Dead Sea Scroll parts was awash in suspected imitations and indications that at least five slice bought by Green, the museum’s chairman, for an undisclosed amount ahead of its opening that year, were fake.

” After an careful review of all the imaging and technical analysis outcomes, it is evident that none of the textual fragments in[ the] Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll accumulation are authentic ,” wrote Colette Loll, the founder and conductor of Art Fraud Insights, the Washington company contracted to examine them.

” Moreover, each exhibit’s characteristics that suggest they are deliberate imitations created in the 20 th century with its intention to imitative authentic Dead Sea Scroll fragments .”

The reviewers summarized how they believe the ruse was inflicted and a succession of biblical both researchers and the museum’s curators duped. The counterfeiters, they recommend, applied Roman-era leather, maybe from boots or sandals, to imitate parchment, and attempted to recreate the handwriting of ancient Hebrew scribes.

Using microscopes and a range of other scientific skills including chemical analysis, the team found inconsistencies such as the presence of a lustrou coating suspected to be animal glue, which wouldn’t have existed at the time, and clues in the spread, sentiment and pooling of ink.

There was also evidence that writing was added after attempts were made to artificially senility the surface.

The exposure of the forges does not affect the accuracy of the genuine Dead Sea Scrolls. The oldest known pieces of the original Hebrew bible, dating from about 400 BC to 300 AD, was located flattened in clay bowls in caves in Palestine’s West Bank in the 1940 s.

But it casts doubt on almost every piece of the so-called Post-2 002 fragments, a collecting of about 70 items that entered the market in the early years of this century after William Kando, the lad of an antiquities marketer who purchased the original moves from Bedouin shepherds seven a few decades ago, claimed to have opened a family vault in Switzerland.

Supposed
Supposed scraps of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Photograph: Schoyen Collection Press Office

According to National Geographic, Green invested heavily between 2009 and 2014 to acquire 16 of those pieces, as he constructed a collection for the family’s showpiece museum.

Until this weekend the scrolls were exposed under soft lighting in the museum’s Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. They will be removed during its close for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, beginning on Monday.

” Notwithstanding the less than favorable ensues, we have done what no other institute with post-2 002 scraps has done ,” said Dr Jeffrey Kloha, the prime curatorial officer.

” The sophisticated and expensive programmes employed to discover the truth about our collection could be used to shed light on other questionable fragments and perhaps even be effective in uncovering who is responsible for these forgeries .”

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ books/ 2020/ mar/ 16/ dead-sea-scrolls-fragments-at-museum-of-the-bible-are-all-fakes-study-says

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