Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Hershel Shanks Lays into Israeli Antiquities Authority

Hershel Shanks, formerly attorney with the US Department of Justice - now editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review has some advice for the Israel Antiquities Authority: 'When you’re in a hole, stop digging!' (The Jerusalem Post, 4th June 2012). His point about the trial of Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch is "how casually and irresponsibly this case has been handled": 
in this case Judge Aharon Farkash gave plenty of indications where he was coming out; the government, however, perversely refused to accede to his admonitions. As early as 2008, the judge invited the prosecution to drop the case, telling the prosecutor: “Not every case ends the way you think it will when it starts. Maybe we can save ourselves the rest.” The prosecution refused to take the judge’s advice. Subsequent suggestions from the bench were met with the same obstinate response. Even after the judge’s decision, the Antiquities Authority would not admit defeat.
Shanks argues that "the authorities responsible for the activities of the Antiquities Authority, including the minister in charge and the Archaeological Council, should draw their conclusions in light of all that transpired and the total loss of confidence in the Antiquities Authority”. I think dealers and collectors can also learn also something, how difficult it may sometimes be to prove or disprove a decontextualised artefact is a fake in a court of law.


Eliyahu said...

This is nothing short of libel and slander by the Israel Antiquities Authority. I hope the guilty involved at the IAA are brought to justice. Can anyone in the Israeli government complain about Pallywood with this kind of crap going on?

Paul Barford said...

Frankly, I do not see why you call it 'libel and slander'. That the court could not decide the issue does not make the objects genuine/authentic. Is it not necessary in your opinion to attempt to carefully sieve true from false in the case of freshly-surfaced antiquities, especially those which have quite significant bearing on how we see the past (like these ones)? Or do you think all scepticism should be abandoned? I'm still sceptical about several of the artefacts in this case, as I think - considering the way they 'surfaced', we all should be.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.