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What an incredible waste of time and scholarly energy is caused by lies! (i.e. fakes and forgeries)
Even following the “metal codices” story from a distance, it has long been clear to me that most of these are fakes – that is, someone found a buyer or buyers and kept producing them for cash. The only question is whether or not one or two of these might be genuine and as such served as the inspiration for the ongoing production.
What do you think Ben? Or should we essentially write them all off as tainted?
If I can answer (since I’m part of the group spending our time on the issue), I believe it is important to analyze every instance where something might be fake. In this instance, look how quickly the media fell for these. They were attracted to them and spread the lie of this find all over the internet. It was broadcast on television to millions of people and on radio networks. This is a serious issue. Laypeople have no way to analyze the claims made by the news media–at least not the way scholars can. So it is up to the academic community to investigate claims not just to expose the lies, or to educate the public, but to find out where and why the fraud occurred. This happens to be a case where tourist trinkets, made from ancient lead ingots, were formed and cast and were probably sold to someone (or through dubious means) who saw them as a way to turn a profit. It is unfortunate that this happens, but the Jordan department of antiquities should be made aware of this, and needs to be aware, that this sort of thing happens. And the public needs to know they can trust the academics they enlist to provide them with information on these sorts of artifacts.
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