Sunday, 10 November 2013
How the IAA and Israeli Police wrecked the James ossuary
Stain of stupidity: The red smear left by the application of silicon by the Israel Police Forensics Laboratory in their fruitless attempt to prove forgery has contaminated the word “Yeshua” (Jesus) inscribed on the ossuary and destroyed much of the little patina that remained
BY MATTHEW KALMAN
It could be the earliest inscription of the word “Jesus” ever found, but we may never know. In their fruitless zeal to prove that the inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” was forged by Oded Golan or an Egyptian craftsman working under his direction, the Israel Antiquities Authority permitted a series of destructive tests that proved nothing and may have destroyed the chances of ever knowing the truth.
The worst contamination can be seen in the reddish stain now smeared across the word “Yeshua” (Jesus) in the photograph above. The Israel Police Forensics Laboratory applied red silicon to the inscription to create a mold that might show it was a modern addition. The procedure proved nothing, but it left reddish stains in the grooves of the letters and ripped out the ancient patina that covers archaeological items and helps determine their authenticity. “In the summer of 2004 the Israeli police, with permission of the IAA, made a red silicon mold of the inscription destroying the ‘letter patina’ by pulling out this ‘soft’ patina which cannot be observed anymore, thus, destroying evidence. Consequently, the alleged small amount of masking letter patina is absent now and cannot be studied further,” observed Amnon Rosenfeld and Shimon Ilani, the geologists who first studied the ossuary before it was revealed to the public in 2002.
For the rest of this revealing article see Matthew Kalman’s blog at