BAR 31:04, Jul/Aug 2005
Update: Finds or Fakes?
There is a saying in archaeology: The answer lies below. The corollary to this is: Dig deeper.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) is indeed digging deeper. But not as an archaeologist would in an effort to find the answer to a problem. It is digging itself deeper into a hole.
The whole world wants to know whether the inscription on the James bone boxJames, son of Joseph, brother of Jesusis authentic or a forgery. The IAA is doing everything it can to prevent this from being scientifically determined. Why? Because it is absolutely convinced that the inscription is a forgeryor at least part of it is a forgery (which part is unclear.)
The IAAs first mistake was not to allow scholars and scientists freely to explore the issue andif differences occurredto allow differing viewpoints and insights to be openly debated. Instead, the IAA and its strongheaded director Shuka Dorfman appointed a committee to act as a judgeto make a final decision, like a court.