Wednesday, August 13, 2003

WAS ODED GOLAN PART OF AN INTERNATIONAL CONSPIRACY? The Baptist Standard (via Jim West on Ioudaios-L) reports that Israeli authorities suspect he was. Excerpt:

Based on evidence seized in the late-night raid, investigators now suspect Golan may have been systematically counterfeiting antiquities and selling them for a number of years. They also believe other professionals, including possibly specialists from abroad, collaborated with him in the alleged scam of the James ossuary.

A panel of Israeli experts has determined the James ossuary inscription, along with a second inscription, supposedly written by King Joash of Judah in the ninth century B.C., both were fakes.

But the circle of inquiry now appears to be widening beyond Golan, said Amir Ganor, an Israeli Antiquities Authority officer.

"We now believe that he had partners who collaborated with him, people from the world of science, academia and also professionals," Ganor said. "We think we know who they are, but we are not willing to publish it at this point."

While most of the inquiry was focused in Israel, personalities from other countries also had been questioned regarding the alleged scam, Ganor said. But so far, the Israeli police have not officially turned to any police agency abroad in connection with a possible international conspiracy.

The Israeli police, in their raid on Golan's apartment, discovered a rooftop storage room containing various items that appeared to be in the process of being doctored, some with so-called "ancient" inscriptions, he said.

Although police had searched Golan's apartment six months ago, the rooftop storage room was a new discovery.

"We found in this room other inscriptions and antiquities that appeared to be in various stages of being counterfeited," Ganor said. "We also found a lot of equipment for the process.

"We are investigating suspicions that beyond the two artifacts that have received so much publicity, there was a process of counterfeiting antiquities that was going on for years," he said. "There are witnesses and evidence that support the suspicion that this is part of something systematic that happened over many years."

Is it so? I have no idea.

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