Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Fake artifacts aren't all bad. For years, a trip to Mexico or Egypt included a chance for a tourist to buy old pottery pieces that were sold as antiquities. Some were genuine, stolen from graves and other sites. Some were modern copies of the old. These relics, old or new, were sold to middlemen who sold them to tourists. Now forgers are using eBay to sell fakes at better prices than they can get for the real thing. The result is that buyers have to deal with more fraud, but there is less unauthorized digging for antiquities at archaeological sites. Even experts admit that it is getting more difficult to identify fakes without looking in person at the actual objects. (based on an article by Thomas Claburn in Information Week)


Jose said...

Dear Mrs & Mr. Kovels: I truly enjoy reading our newsletter. it provides a wealth of information.

In regards of the fake pottery note, I would like to point out that it is illegal in many countries to buy genuine archeological pieces. In Egypt and Israel it depends on the year/age of the piece but in Cambodia and Thailand it is illegal. It is important for collectors to be aware of it, a year ago a Thai taxi driver was selling me an amazing and original Buddha statue!

In Mexico for example, when anybody finds an acheological relic, she/he can donate it to a local museum, keep it for himself or give it to a another Mexican as a present. At the moment there is a transaction involved, it becomes a crime.

In many countries you find pamphlets at the airports where you can read that it is unethical to steal a countries' heritage and that it is a serious offense and a crime to buy Genuine archeological pieces or attempt to take them out of the country.

Congratulations for our great publication again!

Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr and Mrs Kovels,

Regarding "fake pottery"

In late 1995, my wife and I were in Israel on a most interesting tour. The trip was a wedding gift from my mother. One of our licensed guides, an American professor, took our group to several noted sites, including Megiddo and Lachish. Some sites were where he himself had participated in digs.

At Lachish, while listening to our guide's presentation, my wife and I collected numerous interesting potsherds that had been marked and catalogued, then discarded by those who had done the dig. We were free to take them. None of our fellow tour members joined us in collecting what we planned to use as gifts back in the States. Their loss.

We expected to be questioned at the airport, both on exiting Israel and at US Customs back in the States. Nothing of the sort. Surprised us.

The sherds are meaningful mementos of a fine trip and made for fine gifts to family and friends.

Thanks for a fine webpublication!