May 25, 2019 | Updated: 09:32 AM EDT

Fake Dead Sea Scrolls Sold In The US: Products Of Sophisticated Archeological Forgeries

Apr 04, 2017 11:59 PM EDT

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Dead Sea Scrolls Online Library Launched
(Photo : Uriel Sinai/Getty Images) A number of fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls popped up in the US at an alarming rate. Some sources questions their authenticity and think that they may be a modern-day forgeries.

Unpublished fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls are stirring controversies whether they are authentic or modern-day forgeries. These are part of the larger quantity of fragments that made its way in the United States over the span of two decades. The Dead Sea Scrolls came from the collection of books, Hebrew Bible and other writings from 300 centuries before Christ and a century after the events in the new testament.

Today, "the greatest archeological find of the 20th century" is also a favorite subject of forgeries, the National Geographic said. Apart from the ones with texts in them, there are actually blank parchments among the Dead Sea Scrolls. These were eventually used by counterfeiters to make expert handwritings - scrolls that are as high quality as the original.

Recently, 48 fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls popped up in the US and the numbers are growing. Most of these fragments were sold by unknown individuals who claimed that they were once owned by antiquities dealer Khalil Iskander Shahin, Live Science reported. Since the 1940's, Shahin collected many fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls and sold some of them to American collectors.

However, Shanin's son William Kando expressed concern over the ballooning number of scroll fragments that are popping up. Kando stressed that the number of claims doesn't match to the scrolls and fragments that their family actually sold - the numbers simply doesn't add up. For example, one claim says that they purchased 15 fragments from the Kandos in 2002 but the family said they sold only 7 in that year.

Kando made efforts recently to "authenticate" the Dead Sea Scrolls. One such collection is housed at the Azusa Pacific University. The four scrolls are unpublished fragments of the biblical books Daniel, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus. According to School of Theology dean, Robert Duke, they were assured by Kando and his family that they indeed owned the Dead Sea Scrolls that eventually made it to the university.

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