Saturday, April 02, 2011

Detecting Fraud

I was thinking about this recent discovery of ancient writings and wondering what obvious things would point to forgery. The first thing to do would be to check up on the scientist making all the fuss. What I read about him seemed ok at the time, but it seems that he has been seen as suspect before. The second thing that made me wonder was the fact that the codices were made up of lead, or lead compounds. I don't know anything about early metal tablets, but lead struck me as a highly unlikely option because it is so soft. If the idea was to create something that endures, surely a harder metal would be used. It seems though that it is more the fact that the lead is cast that is making experts suspicious. The third thing that struck me is that the writings were apparently in Hebrew or Hebrew code - I think that this would be anachronous in that the early Christian Church would have used Greek or Aramaic. However, if a code was intended, then Hebrew could be a good option. As it turns out, the writing seems to be both Greek and Hebrew and the 'code' is probably just a lack of understanding of the languages. Portions have been copied from texts kept in a museum in Jordan and sometimes incorrectly copied - creating a sense of almost meaning!
Maybe the things that make us wonder should make us wonder some more . . .

2 comments:

Thomas Scarborough said...

I sent this one to son Matthew, who recently detected an archaeological fraud (doing a Masters in Archaeology in the UK).

Jenny Hillebrand said...

I should think that Matthew would a good historical detective! How would that be for a career?