Chapter

Authenticating Artworks and other Artifacts

Joe Nickell

in Real or Fake

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780813125343
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813135229 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5810/kentucky/9780813125343.003.0013
Authenticating Artworks and other Artifacts

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Spurious artifacts are not merely non-treasures for they are anti-treasures capable of distorting the historical picture and thus are analogous to a sociopath's act of vandalism. They can divert scholars' attention from more profitable study. False artifacts include religious relicts that proliferated during the Middle Ages. Alleged relics of Jesus dominated. Just as the production of forged artifacts can require specialized knowledge, so can their detection. Scientific analysis is vital to the investigator. Quite often it can be a deciding factor in resolving some important historical question. Whenever an artifact is questioned, the historical detective must devise an investigative strategy capable of resolving the issue.

Keywords: artifacts; religious relicts; Middle Ages; relics; Jesus; scientific analysis; investigator

Chapter.  3126 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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