The Hucksters and Suckers of Archaeological Scams

The Hucksters and Suckers of Archaeological Scams

Hidden among the exhibits of the world’s finest museums and in some of the most famous private archaeological and art collections are forgeries, manufactured supposedly ancient arts and artifacts sold into the antiquities market to unwitting buyers. On a smaller scale, hoaxes often result from practical jokes and con-artistry but sometimes from peer rivalry and jealously, and historically many forgeries have been associated with artifacts supposedly from Pompeii in Italy, Crete and Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, but there have been a number of highly impactful hoaxes and archaeological forgeries of all times.

Picture of Edward Simpson aka Flint Jack, born 1815. (Public Domain)

Picture of Edward Simpson aka Flint Jack, born 1815. (Public Domain)

Renown and infamous archaeological forgers include Alceo Dossena, who in the 19th century created archaic and medieval statues; Brigido Lara, the Mexican forger of pre-Columbian antiquities; and in England, Edward Simpson was a Victorian forger of prehistoric flint tools, which he sold to the British Museum, and each of these cases of archaeoforgery caused global calamity.


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