A selection of the 'Moabite' or 'Shapira' forgeries (PEF-F-1, F-3, F-4)
The PEF holds a small collection of eight ‘Moabite’ or ‘Shapira’ forgeries. They were acquired for the PEF by H.H. Kitchener in 1878 whilst he was in the field completing the Survey of Western Palestine.
Several experts, including the PEF’s Claude R. Conder, initially declared these pieces to be authentic. They were subsequently found to be forgeries by Charles Clermont-Ganneau, a French diplomat-archaeologist. This caused a great scandal among archaeologists, curators and collectors of antiquities in the late 19th century. They represent the first instance where a case of fraud had such a dramatic impact, something which has been repeated innumerable times since. Linked to these pieces are several items in the Documentary, Picture, and Photographic Archives.
Left: Watercolour sketch by captain Claude Conder of some of the Moabite forgeries in Shapira’s Jerusalem shop, painted 13th August, 1872 (PEF/WS/425/11 and PEF/PI/235).
The Palestine Exploration Fund, 2 Hinde Mews, Marylebone Lane, London, W1U 2AA
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