Oh that ticking clock. How many times have I listened to it, waiting for an episode of 60 Minutes to begin, or continue. The show is often full of fascinating features ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. Yours truly has even been grilled by Bob Simon on the show many moons ago after the James ossuary became a celebrity in its own right.
But now there is a smoking gun, and it is being held by Hershel Shanks. In the May/June 2011 issue of BAR, Hershel, no shy violet when it comes to calling a spade a spade (or for that matter a pick axe a pick axe if we are talking archaeology tools here) has accused 60 Minutes of fudging the evidence when it comes to a show that aired March 23 2008.
The show was once more about Oded Golan, and the artifacts he allegedly had concocted by a man named Marco in Cairo. Well, Hershell went to Cairo. He was there in January only shortly before all Hades broke loose in Tahrir Square. And what he did was seek out the small time Christian jeweler Semah Marco. Did he really confess on international TV to having forged antiquities for Oded Golan? As it turns out, he flatly denies forging anything, or confessing he did it.
What set off Hershel’s ‘I smell a rat’ alarm is that on that 60 Minutes show, what it sounded like Marco said, doesn’t match up with the movement of his lips on the screen. So naturally, Hershel asked 60 minutes to cough up the transcript not to mention also the outtakes of the interview. CBS refused, said it was against policy. Now whether it is or isn’t against policy, something is rotten in N.Y. Could it be an expose doctored up and gone wrong? One would hope not, but without question Marco flatly denies having confessed to making the Yehoash inscription or forging the James ossuary etc. You get the picture.
So alert reader—- run don’t walk to your BAR vendor (or better www.bas-arch.org) and order the latest issue of BAR. Read Hershel’s expose on pp. 6,74, and 76. And see what you think. This story has all the makings of a soap opera. I think it should be called ‘As the Stomach Turns’.