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Forgery: Modus operandi (British History)
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Hatty
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Mick Harper
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Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies

Only greengrocer's misuse apostrophes.
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Mick Harper
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A criminal trial has begun of an archaeologist accused of forging a trove of Roman artifacts that allegedly show a third-century depiction of Jesus' crucifixion, Egyptian hieroglyphics and the early use of the Basque language

This is of stupendous significance for our own work so we must start by pointing out something that nobody else seems to have even noticed. Not archaeologists, not historians, not linguists. By the time the third century had rolled round there was not a single example, in the entirety of human history, of writing in a language that is spoken today. Which means that either Basque was the first literary demotic or these are fakes.

That should have been the end of the matter but since archaeologists, historians and linguists fondly believe that three other ‘modern demotics’ -- Irish, Welsh and English -- were being written down by the sixth century this is not terribly surprising. Archaeologists, historians and linguists have been morons since time immemorial. More...
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Mick Harper
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We gotta world record

Archaeologist Eliseo Gil claimed the graffiti on the artifacts showed very early links between the Roman settlement in Spain and the Basque language; he also claimed that a drawing of three crosses scratched on a piece of ancient pottery was the earliest known portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Or maybe not

But other archaeologists have disputed the finds. Among other major discrepancies, they pointed out that some of the language of the graffiti shows that it was made in modern times.

This also moves us into familiar territory. Who shall judge the language of the judges when only the judges speak the language of the judges? Especially when they’re local heroes

Gil became a celebrity in Spain's Basque Country in 2006, when he claimed that hundreds of broken ceramic pieces known as "ostraca" — covered with drawings; phrases in Latin, Greek and Basque; and Egyptian hieroglyphics — had been unearthed at the Iruña-Veleia site

Maybe there’s honour among Basques

The other archaeologists alleged that writing on the artifacts, supposedly from the second to the fifth centuries, contained words and spellings from hundreds of years later, modern commas and the mixed use of uppercase and lowercase letters, a practice which dates from after the eighth century

You mean Basque was a literary language before French and Spanish, Occitan and Catalan? Good going, guys. Oh, and while you're here, can you clear up the mystery of how the French, the Spanish, the Occitans and the Catalans dropped whatever language they were speaking and all decided to switch over to Latin-based ones, but you didn't?

A word to the wise: you're not allowed to say "Maybe they didn't" unless you want to hand in your archaeologist/ historian /linguist badge. Better not challenge the Almighty Paradigm if you wanna carry on working in this town.
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Hatty
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Archaeologist Eliseo Gil claimed the graffiti on the artifacts showed very early links between the Roman settlement in Spain and the Basque language; he also claimed that a drawing of three crosses scratched on a piece of ancient pottery was the earliest known portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ

A single fake inexorably makes all the finds suspect. If the graffiti hadn't been so obviously anachronistic they would presumably never have been exposed. One wonders how many other supposedly ancient inscriptions have duped archaeologists.
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Mick Harper
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We got some idea of how a modern forgery gang is put together though not as yet the Mr Big or the curator cut-out

Gil and his former colleagues, geologist Óscar Escribano and materials analyst Rubén Cerdán, say they are not guilty of any deception. Gil and Escribano are facing five and a half years in prison if they are found guilty of fraud and damaging heritage items, while Cerdán faces two and a half years in prison if he is found guilty of making fraudulent documents vouching for the authenticity of the artifacts.

They’ll have a hard task proving the ‘damaging heritage items’ charge unless the Spanish believe bits of old flowerpot (or whatever) are part of their heritage. But I look forward to the expert witnesses. This one could go either way

The graffiti on some of the artifacts also contained hieroglyphics spelling out the name of the ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti, who was probably unknown until her rediscovery in the early 20th century

but they may be nailed on this one

and a Latin motto created around 1913 for an international court at The Hague in the Netherlands

Except they can call on dozens of academics who have been writing papers etc about these discoveries to refute it.
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Mick Harper
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But the most hilarious quote comes at the very end when a doyen of Spanish archaeology sums up the root cause of all paradigm errors in academic subjects concerned with the past

He noted that Basque public companies and government bodies awarded Gil and his associates sponsorships worth millions of dollars for their work at Iruña-Veleia. The fake artifacts were an attempt to promote certain ideas about Basque nationalism, including the early use of the Basque language and the early Christianization of what is now the Basque Country. "They are stories that a certain segment of Basque society longs to hear," he said.
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Hatty
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Mick Harper wrote:
Prison literature is a genre in itself though, again, whether books are actually written in prison or it's a later publicity wheeze is something we shall have to take up with Gawain and the Green Knight. Unless they turn out to be fictional as well. Whether Sir Thomas Mallory who conveniently (don't they always) wrote at the end of the book

For this was written by a knight prisoner Thomas Malleorre, that God send him good recovery

is the author I wouldn't know though the actual book Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a Cottonian forgery. But then the entire Arthurian Cycle is not as it seems.

There is only one manuscript of 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' and it is first recorded in a 17th century catalogue. Not only does this manuscript -- Cotton MS Nero A.x -- have the unique manuscript of Sir Gawain, it has unique copies of three other gems of Middle English literature

contains the only known copies of the Middle English poems Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, Cleanness, and Patience

Nothing is known about the 'Gawain poet' but he is assumed to be the author of all four works.

The three other works found in the same manuscript as Gawain (commonly known as Pearl, Patience, and Purity or Cleanliness) are often considered to be written by the same author. However, the manuscript containing these poems was transcribed by a copyist and not by the original poet. Although nothing explicitly suggests that all four poems are by the same poet, comparative analysis of dialect, verse form, and diction have pointed towards single authorship

The British Library, the repository of the former Cotton collection, dates the manuscript as 14th - 15th century (the 'dedication' was added later)

Provenance: King Edward III of England (r. 1327-1377), perhaps connected with his court, inscribed 'Hony soit q[ui] mal pence[e]' and 'Hugo de', in a hand of the 15th century (f. 128v). (?)Henry Savile of Banke, collector of manuscripts, (d. 1617), in his catalogue dated before 1607 (Harley MS 1879, f. 8v, no. 274): see Watson, The Manuscripts of Henry Savile of Banke, p. 68. Sir Robert Bruce Cotton (b. 1571, d. 1631), 1st baronet, antiquary and politician: his binding instructions, also included in the first catalogue of his collection (Harley MS 6018, no. 279), in the Cottonian catalogues

http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/FullDisplay.aspx?ref=Cotton_MS_Nero_A_X/2

The poem itself was unknown until the nineteenth century

Little is known about its previous ownership, and until 1824, when the manuscript was introduced to the academic community in a second edition of Thomas Warton's History edited by Richard Price, it was almost entirely unknown. Even then, the Gawain poem was not published in its entirety until 1839
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Hatty
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A group of manuscript scholars were perplexed by the poor quality of the illustrations for the Sir Gawain and the Green Knight poem

this manuscript is in many ways a paradox and mystery in itself—containing as it does the unique versions of four of the finest works of Middle English literature, recognized in scholarly consensus as courtly productions of the highest literary artistry, but in a manuscript not representing at all a correspondingly elevated standard of craftsmanship

They decided to investigate and turned to multispectral imaging, developed for military and then medical uses, to increase legibility rather than radiocarbon dating

some mysteries have remained, including the relation between the ink drawing and the coloration of the illustrations, the pictorial content of the original images in places where these are damaged or faded beyond legibility, and the possibly iconographically significant use of particular pigments by the colorist. Scientific study using multispectral imaging has allowed us to resolve some of these mysteries ... The digital methods we have applied in our research have allowed us to see them in ways impossible with conventional methods.

So no use for dating but the imaging technique does reveal palimpsests

It is clear that the illustrations of Cotton Nero A.x. were added some time after the text was written, and probably after the quires had been loosely sewn or even after the book had been made up. W. W. Greg first noted the main evidence for this in his review of the Gollancz facsimile: “[T]here are two holes (now repaired) in the inner margin of fol. 82 and the painting and design on the recto of this leaf are carried through the holes onto fol. 83r, showing that the picture was painted after the sheets had been sewn and probably after the volume was bound.”

and illustrations were added to blank pages at the end and beginning of the manuscript

The final three illustrations, to Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, are on unused leaves after this final text in the manuscript, at the end of a quire (fols. 125/129 and 126/130). Finally, fols. 37/41 and 38/42, consisting of four illustration pages to Pearl, constitute a bifolium that was probably added to the beginning of the manuscript at the time the illustrations were planned

This has a familiar ring as we found that inserted text (e.g. land charters) to be common practice in gospel books. It raises the interesting, or alarming, question whether other illustrated manuscripts were over-painted

Examination of the iron-gall ink drawings underneath the subsequently applied paint is now possible using brief but intense infrared illumination and shows, we think conclusively, what scholars had previously merely suspected: that the paint was most likely applied by another person than the one who originally had done the ink drawings, and that both interventions in the manuscript were at intervals of time from the manuscript’s first creation. The ink drawings are not mere “underdrawings” created in the course of elaborating colored illustrations but may well have constituted the manuscript’s first artistic program as uncolored ink drawings.

If only they'd analysed the paint pigment and the ink itself, instead of merely noting that the paint overlies the ink drawings.

Further scientific investigation will be needed to sort out what exactly the chemical composition of these newly observed pigments is

https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdfplus/10.1086/693361
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Mick Harper
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Order every test except the one that counts. These people are either incredibly stupid or they are being incredibly careful. Even by their own lights there would be a sound justification for a carbon test just to help resolve which part of the later middle ages they believe it came from. Not 'it', 'they'. The illustrations were inserted after the book was bound. It's as if they knew. And damn difficult for the artist, the pages don't exactly sit flat.

But then we've been here before with all those mad monks using centuries-old books for their glosses and accounts rendered. I suppose you realise this has just increased the number of known palimpsests in Britain by a factor of ... you'd better look it up, I haven't done my dance exercises yet and I'm not fit for anything afterwards.

We are, I think, going to have put an even more radical thought into play. That the Cotton Library is itself a nineteenth century ramp. I am not even proposing this as a hypothesis at this stage, just a thought. Gawain? Go on.
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Mick Harper
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Further scientific investigation will be needed to sort out what exactly the chemical composition of these newly observed pigments is

This is a classic case of Careful Ignoral 'more research is needed' Variant. These well-funded and lavishly equipped dudes investigating one of the crown jewels of Middle English have thrown a vast battery of tests at the problem. They have, for no stated reason, omitted the most basic one of all (carbon-dating) and now, apparently, the funds running out or being head-hunted away or a more exciting project on the horizon or the summer vacs (they don't say) have prevented them getting round to the second-most revealing smoking gun test -- analysis of pigments. They have given the impression that it is because they are 'newly discovered' though that doesn't seem to have prevented doing all the other stuff.

My guess is that they did do the tests and they came back sufficiently smoking-gunnish that there was no alternative but to declare them unsatisfactory for some reason and that they will have to be done all over again. You can be sure they will never be done again. Not over their dead bodies. How do I know? I don't, I may be doing them a huge injustice but that phrase 'sort out' is not actually true. They are not sorting them out, they are identifying them. It is a construction you would find in "It's such a bore but we can leave it to the staff to sort out." You'd never guess they are the staff. Our staff. You know, the middle English.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Then they showed him the shield, that was of sheer gules,⁠
with the pentangle painted in pure gold.
He took it by the baldric and cast it about his neck;
and it became the hero passing fair.
And why the pentangle pertains to that noble prince
I mean to tell you, though it should delay me.
It is a sign that Solomon set formerly
as a token of truth, by its own right,
for it is a figure that holds five points,
and each line overlaps and locks in another;
and throughout it is endless; and the English call it
everywhere, as I hear, the endless knot.


This is referring to the Key Of Solomon. Wiki is not much help

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lesser_Key_of_Solomon

It probably dates back to the 14th or 15th century Italian Renaissance. It presents a typical example of Renaissance magic.[citation needed]


It's a magic-inspired view of the world probably 17th -18th Century.
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Mick Harper
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Twentieth century is my (cursory) reading. Theosophy, Golden Dawn, Aleister Crowley, them lot. Maybe as far back as Gothic Revival, Pre-Raphaelite etc though.
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Wile E. Coyote


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Bit weird, Knight with a pentacle on his shield.
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Mick Harper
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and throughout it is endless; and the English call it
everywhere, as I hear, the endless knot
.

The "English" didn't exist in the twelfth/thirteenth centuries, they wouldn't be on the Italian renaissance radar in the fourteenth/fifteenth centuries, and nobody in the mittelEuropa alchemical world of the sixteenth/seventeenth centuries would have given them a shout out. The poetry is too awful to be English eighteenth/ nineteenth century.
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