A Study Found All ‘Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments’ at the US Museum of the Bible are Fake and Modern Forgeries.
In November 2019, a Team of Experts and Scientists revealed None of the sixteen ‘Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments’ at the US Museum of the Bible are authentic. They in fact concluded the ‘historical artefacts’ are modern fakes after conducting a series of investigations and testing over many months.
What are Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls (or Qumran Caves Scrolls) are ancient Jewish religious manuscripts found in the Qumran Caves in the Judaean Desert, near Northern shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank of Palestine. Initially, Shepherds discovered seven scrolls during 1946–1947 – housed in jars – in a cave near the Qumran site.
Excavations in later years discovered further scrolls and fragments. Likewise, many thousands of written fragments appeared in the Dead Sea area, and housed in the Shrine of the Book on the grounds of the Israel Museum. The scrolls and fragments became popular because the texts have great historical, religious and linguistic significance.
At the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.
Steve Green is the owner of American chain of arts and crafts stores Hobby Lobby and Chairman of the Board of the Museum of the Bible. Reportedly, he paid millions of dollars and purchased up to 16 scrolls and fragments in the name of the company. Along with thousands of other biblical artifacts, they were donated for exhibition at the museum, which opened in November 2017. In 2016, a team of scholars published 13 of the museum’s fragments as Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection.
As a matter of fact, no full-scale scientific examination of the fragments collection after 2002 was conducted. All purchases took place after 2002 period when suspected forgeries entered the market. So, scholars have expressed growing concern about the authenticity of some of those fragments. Consequently, five of the fragments at the Museum of the Bible carried exhibit labels indicating their unverified authenticity.
Further Analysis If the ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ are Fake
The Museum of the Bible put together a team of experts and various independent advisors comprising scientists, conservators and imaging experts. In Feb 2019, the Museum of the Bible contacted Colette Loll of Art Fraud Insights to bring in a team of experts. They wanted to find out whether or not their collection of Dead Sea Scrolls was authentic.
The experts used multispectral and reflectance transformation imaging (RTI), traditional and 3D microscopy along with micro-chemical testing. Their examinations revealed the substrate of the Museum’s Scroll Fragments appears to be Leather rather than on Parchment (thin, dried skin of some animals) in case of authentic Dead Sea Scrolls. The raw skins used as writing material appear to have been treated with Lime, which post date the original Scrolls.