All museums come in contact with forgeries of ancient artifacts. They may be donated or bought by the museum having been mistaken real by uneducated curators or even experts. Many forgers are well educated and can easily trick experts until testing has been done. Some fake artifacts are purposeful by museums in the form of replicas that allow the public to view the piece without harming the artifact, and reduced pricing (such as Michelangelo’s David which has been replicated numerous times, most notably seen where the original statues once was at Piazza Della Signoria). Replicas are also used as educational tools and can be sized down easily and meticulously using 3D printing.
Fake artifacts interest many potential buyers, including museums, when thought to be real and sometimes scientifically undetected as a fake. The profit made by the forger is immense and relatively easy with today’s technology. If the work is displayed the emotional high also plays a role. Some forgers also use fakes as evidence to promote their beliefs in religion, theories, etc. Fakes hurt anthropological academia by sometimes encouraging research into fake artifacts that obstruct the knowledge of cultural material regarding the fakes as well as similar real artifacts. This could lead to new theories of the past societies culture that are tremendously skewed from fact. In order to decrease forgery from entering museums there would not only have to be more research on items received, but a ban on purchasing or receiving items that do not have an archaeological track record of the site the object came from. This would be difficult financially for museums because they would not be able to take in many donations, and some of the artifacts that are real but taken long ago by looting or otherwise without records would not be able to be included which would also restrict important research and findings.
- Meador-Woodruff, Robin, Janet Richards, and Terry Wilfong. “EGYPTIAN FORGERIES IMAGE GALLERY.” The Art of the Fake: Egyptian Forgeries from the Kelsey Museum of Archeology. Kelsey Museum of Archeology. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ipl.org/div/kelsey/>.
- Jackson, Brittany, and Mark Rose. “Archaeology Magazine – Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites – Bogus! An Introduction to Dubious Discoveries – Archaeology Magazine Archive.”Archaeology Magazine – Hoaxes, Fakes, and Strange Sites – Bogus! An Introduction to Dubious Discoveries – Archaeology Magazine Archive. Archaeological Institute of America, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/hoaxes/intro.html>.
- Stanish, Charles. “Forging Ahead – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love EBay – Archaeology Magazine Archive.” Forging Ahead – How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love EBay – Archaeology Magazine Archive. Archaeological Institute of America, 1 Jan. 2009. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://archive.archaeology.org/0905/etc/insider.html>.