Israeli authorities indict ossuary owner

Antiquities forgery scheme
Criminal indictments brought in Jerusalem against four men, including the antiquities collector linked to the James ossuary, or bone box, have prompted museums and devotees of biblical archaeology to think again about the authenticity of artifacts that have turned up in recent years in Israel’s antiquities market.

Indictments announced December 29 were leveled against members of a what authorities said was a sophisticated antiquities forgery ring.

The criminal indictments followed an investigation by Israeli police and the Antiquities Authority, which had long suspected four men of masterfully forging such important relics as the James ossuary, a 2,000-year-old limestone burial box bearing the Aramaic inscription, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus,” that created a sensation in North America in late 2002.


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