16 Dead Sea Scroll fragments on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington have been exposed as fakes.
Considered to be some of the most significant ancient texts ever discovered, the Dead Sea Scrolls are comprised of several hundred documents dating back more than 2,000 years. They were found inside eleven caves in the eastern Judaean Desert between 1946 and 1956.
While fragments of the scrolls have been on display in museums around the world for years, this week it was revealed that 16 fragments on display at the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. are actually little more than forgeries.
They had been purchased back in 2002 at a time when a number of counterfeit scrolls had appeared on the market however it wasn’t until 2016 that experts had started to question their authenticity.
After Art Fraud Insights determined that five of them were forgeries, the museum conducted a detailed investigation into the remaining 11 using comprehensive imaging and analysis techniques.
“After an exhaustive review of all the imaging and scientific analysis results, it is evident that none of the textual fragments in Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll collection are authentic,” Art Fraud Insights director and founder Colette Loll said in a statement.
“Moreover, each exhibits characteristics that suggest they are deliberate forgeries created in the twentieth century with the intent to mimic authentic Dead Sea Scroll fragments.”
Plans to remove the counterfeit fragments from display are now underway.
Source: USA Today