BAR 36:03, May/Jun 2010
Forgery Trial Ends
Testimony in what has been dubbed the “forgery trial of the century” ended last February in a Jerusalem courtroom.
The trial went on for more than five years. The transcript of the testimony exceeds 11,000 pages. More than 130 witnesses testified and supported their testimony with more than 300 exhibits.
The indictment charges that some of Israel’s highest-profile archaeological relics are modern forgeries, including the ossuary or bone box inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”; a plaque that, if authentic, would be the only known royal Israelite inscription; a small inscribed ivory pomegranate allegedly used in Solomon’s Temple; an inscribed pottery sherd recording a donation of three shekels to the Temple; and many more.
Duke University professor Eric Meyers has opined that between 30 and 40 percent of the inscriptions in the Israel Museum are forgeries.