Were the Dead Sea Scrolls Forged?
It seems there has been suspicion about the authenticity of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and after testing them for month it appears they were produced during modern times.
Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been housed on the fourth floor of the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. for many years.
National Geographic reported in March 2020, that researchers funded by the Museum of the Bible confirmed that all 16 of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments are forgeries that fooled many, including biblical scholars.
Colette Loll an art fraud investigator headed a team that produced a 200 page report describing where the fragments were inked in modern time on ancient leather. She said, “These fragments were manipulated with the intent to deceive." There had been suspicion that they were not authentic prior to the findings of the report.
The Dead Sea Scroll fragments which lie in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem are not included in the report only the ones that entered the antiquities market post-2002. .
Loll was contracted in 2019 for the investigation and she insisted on transparency of her finding, including a release to the public. The tanned parchment were made of leather that are believed to be scraps recovered somewhere in the Judean desert, possibly from Roman-era sandals or shoes.
One of the clues to the forgery was the treatment with lime to the leather to remove hair, which is thought to be technique used after the time the authentic Dead Sea Scrolls were produced.
The authentic documents were found in 1947 by Bedouin herders in clay jars in the Qumran caves. Thousands of scrolls were found dating back more than 1,800 years including the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible.
Khalil Iskander Shahin better known as Kando, an antiquities dealer acquired the fragments during the 1950s from local Bedouin. In 2002, scholars and antiquities dealers started to unveil long-lost pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Many of them were no bigger than large coins. Many of them were reportedly traced back to Kandos who had long ago spirited some of them to a vault in Switzerland.
Many were bought from William Kando, Kando's eldest son which were the ones that ended up in the Museum of the Bible's collection.
Despite being purchased at four different times from four different people, the report finds that all 16 of the Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments were forged the same way—which strongly suggests that the forged fragments share a common
As a result of the report the museum is reevaluating all the material and returning any that were stolen. In 2018 they found a piece in their collection had changed hands many times but had been stolen from the University of Athens in 1991. They returned it to Greece.
Source - NatGeo
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