Israeli researchers said the main clue that the inscription was phony was that its letters had been cut through a soft gray residue that could not have built up naturally with age and thus was most likely a homemade paste smeared over the inscription to make it appear old.
James Harrell, a geologist at the University of Toledo and a member of the Association for the Study of Marble and Other Stones in Antiquity, wrote in the publication that the Israeli investigation was flawed.
The inscription, he said, could be ancient and the traces of residue found within its letters might have been left by something used to clean the inscription, or someone might have smeared the film over the lettering to hide the cleaning.
Friday, December 19, 2003
BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY REVIEW is publishing an article by an American geologist who disputes the Israeli conclusion that the inscription on the "James Ossuary" is a modern fake. This according to the Raleigh News and Observer; the January issue of BAR has not been posted to the BAR website as of this posting. Here's an excerpt from the Raleigh News and Observer article: