A two-and-a-half-year-long suspected archaeological fraud involving thousands of forged Greek and Etruscan artefacts, a hospital x-ray machine, a philanthropic aristocrat and a sophisticated network of forgers has come to an abrupt end after police raids late last year on two homes belonging to alleged members of a gang. Seven arrests were made and a further seven suspects are under investigation.
There are two striking things about the techniques used by the forgers: the use of an x-ray to scramble any possible Thermoluminescence signature and the admixture of grog from actual ceramic artifacts into the clay of the forgeries to throw off compositional analyses. These two techniques, dating and sourcing, were supposed to be critical new weapons in the archaeologist’s toolkit to expose forgeries. What now? Does this signal a new phase in the arms race between forgers and authenticators? Perhaps this is an issue where archaeologists, museums, and collectors can find room for collective action. Find more on the story here: