The Israel Antiquities Authority admitted on Friday that an allegedly ancient artifact discovered in the southern Israeli city of Asqalan and claimed to date back to 521 BC was fake, Israeli media reported.
The shard of pottery in question was discovered by a passerby last December and was considered a breakthrough discovery as the first mention of a sixth-century B.C. empire builder to appear in Israel.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said that a group of hikers found the piece while they were touring the area of Tal al-Duwair, also known as Tal Lachish, an area located southeast of Asqalan and on the road between Jerusalem and Gaza.
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In the wake of the announcement, an archeologist from outside Israel, who had participated in excavations in Tal al-Duwair as part of a group of international archaeologists, checked the alleged artifact and explained that she herself had actually etched those words onto the ancient fragment.
The unnamed expert admitted to forging the piece while demonstrating the ancient Aramaic language to a group of students by writing ‘Year 24 of Darius’ in the original script.
She added that she accidentally left the altered piece at the site.
Gideon Avni, the chief scientist of the Antiquities Authority, said it “takes full responsibility for the unfortunate event.”
(The Palestine Chronicle)
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