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Table salt revealed ancient Bible scriptures as forgery


Counterfeit fragments of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls have in many cases tricked museum, experts and collectors. A counterfeit was revealed because of plain table salt, which would mimic the natural salt found on many of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

- The salts look very different in a microscope. The fragment cannot be from antiquity, because there was no table salt then, says religion scientist Kipp Davis in the world of science.

Counterfeiting of old Bible writings is a major problem. Just over a year ago, the Washington DC Bible Museum had five fragments removed from the approximately 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls after being revealed to be false.

It is not always easy to determine if an ancient Bible script is authentic. The counterfeiters can easily buy antique parchments without writing online and write on them.

- They can handle carbon-14 dating. Therefore, no one believed they were forged, says religion scholar Lawrence Schiffman in the world of science.

Wrong kind of salt

Sometimes forgeries are revealed in unusual ways. Like when religious scientist Kipp Davis found table salt on a fragment that would be part of the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was used to imitate the salt naturally found in many of the scriptures stored at the Dead Sea.

It was an alleged fragment from a Dead Sea scroll that had made its way via Norway detours revealed to the salt cheat.

- In high magnification we saw that the ink had been ironed on top of some of the salt grains. Ink on top of the salt grains on a fragment indicates that it was created after table salt began to be used, says Kipp Davis.

The museum was forced to close parts of the exhibition

Researchers' discoveries have, among other things, forced a museum in Washington to withdraw parts of an exhibit when the "old" Bible documents turned out to be newly produced counterfeits.

See more about the Dead Sea Scrolls in the World of Science. The program airs on SVT2 on Monday, January 20 at 20:00 and is available for viewing on SVT Play.

Source: svt

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