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Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries (British History)
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Wile E. Coyote


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This is the way it works. See what the sacred chronologists have done.

In the Christian religion, pomegranates are often used as a decoration. Commonly, the fruit represents the promise of eternal life. So a Christian sees a pomegranate.

Mick sees an opium poppy.
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Mick Harper
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The creation story of the Franciscan Order

This was the world into which the man known to history as Saint Francis was born. He was actually born in Assisi and his given name was Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone. He became known as Francis (or Francesco) as his merchant father was doing quite well in Provence, France at the time of his birth.

Happens all the time.
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Hatty
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The British Museum has a whalebone plaque, discovered in Lilleberge, Norway, in 1891, which it thinks was a chopping board or food tray though rather beautifully decorated with two quite delicate animal heads facing each other at the top and part of a hoard of Viking objects, the Lilleberge Ship Burial

Two brooches found together with the plaque date to 800-850 AD; these can be seen as contextual evidence, dating the plaque no earlier than 800 AD.

Provenance though is somewhat troubling.

The circumstances of its finding are poorly documented... it was found in a ‘barrow 107 ft. long at Lilleberre [sic], Namladen’ in 1886. The name Lilleberre refers to the farm Lilleberge: ‘[g]ården Lillebergeligger også ved Namsen, fire kilometer øst for Melhus.’ ... This is where English sport fishers and antiquities collectors excavated the aforementioned long barrow, their report stating the name of the farm as ‘Lilleberre’.

The plaque came into the possession of Alfred Heneage Cocks, who sold it to the British Museum in 1891 along with several other items.

I wasn't aware that fishermen excavated barrows but Alfred was a proper archaeologist-collector

A former curator of Buckinghamshire County Museum, Aylesbury, he sold a collection of largely Viking/Germanic finds from Norway to the Museum in 1891.

https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/H_1891-1021-67

Everything seemed fine until the BM decided to exhibit the plaque which involved further treatment

In September 2011, the treatment remained rather superficial; aside from some improvement of the old fills, no significant amendment took place. By May 2014, the condition of the plaque severely deteriorated. According to pre-treatment survey, ‘[o]bject come [sic] apart along old joins’. This time the old adhesive was removed and replaced. The report suggests that the process involved dismantling the plaque and re-joining it.

That's pretty rum as
Whalebone is a durable medium that decomposes slower than wood.

Norway is the main country of origin for whalebone so you might expect to find Norwegian whalebone objects carved to a high standard. But this plaque, functional if function unknown, deteriorated surprisingly quickly despite the intricate animal head carvings having remained intact

The material of the plaque sets it apart from the more common Viking Age artefacts. Bone carving in Northern Europe never raised to the prominence it shows in other parts of Europe.

Cocks sold the museum a pup, probably a whole litter, I reckon.
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Mick Harper
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One of the heroes of Forgeries re-appeared in a very peculiar context, a piece on medium.com about why one generation is always contemptuous of the next. Notice, to an American layman, the Anglo-Saxons are 'Middle Ages'

To the Anglo-Saxons of the Middle Ages, land was everything. “The basis of all legal relationships in the Middle Ages was land,” says Andrew Rabin, an English professor at the University of Louisville with a specialty in early medieval law and literature. Owning land meant having status in the community and providing stability for a family. Life and liberty took place upon one’s land. “From a legal perspective, the primary purpose of the family unit was to ensure the proper descent of land,” Rabin says. And the descent was predictable for a patriarchal society: A son reaches a certain age and the land becomes his.

Can't see there's anything terribly Anglo-Saxon about that

But that’s not always what happened. Instead, many sons ended up like Edwin, son of Enniaun, who lived sometime between the years 916 and 935. His father died, and his mother wouldn’t hand over some estates that Edwin believed were his. So, like many sons of the time, Edwin sued his mother in court.

If I had a pound for every Anglo-Saxon son that sued his mother in court I'd be a very poor man.

That kicked off a chain of Game of Thrones–grade one-upmanship, replete with a host of quality medieval names: The judge, Thurkil the White, sent a delegation to take the mother’s testimony. The mother (whose name wasn’t included in the records) then summoned Leofflaed, Thurkil’s wife. In the presence of the court delegation, the mother swore the land rightly belonged to her and then dispossessed her son of the land. Instead, she said, Leofflaed and Thurkil could have it after she was gone. With this, Thurkil ruled in the mother’s favor. She’d keep her land for the rest of her life, and Edwin would never grow up to get it.

That's not how it's set out either in the Hereford Gospels or Meetings with Remarkable Forgeries but I wouldn't necessarily hold that against it.

There are a lot of morals to that tale, of course, about power, and wealth, and gender. But Rabin says that, as he read historical tales of land disputes, he saw a recurring theme: Parents did not want to pass down their land, because it meant also passing down their power. If the children own land, the parents do not. If the children prove themselves to be good landowners, then then parents aren’t needed.https://gen.medium.com/why-older-people-have-always-trashed-young-people-8f918529009a

Aye, mebbe.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Can t'committee please advise if this is the appropriate thread for musical forgeries? If not here, where else?
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Mick Harper
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We can't, I'm afraid. It's a judgement call.
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Boreades


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Oh bugger, I better go somewhere else then.
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Mick Harper
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O bugger, thou mayest enjoy this extract from a forthcoming book by two of the AEL's finest

------------------------

He also became acquainted with Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart's librettist. Notes by Casanova indicate that he may have made suggestions to Da Ponte concerning the libretto for Mozart's Don Giovanni

It takes one to know one. Da Ponte couldn’t write a libretto to save his life but, like record producers during the Golden Age of Tin Pan Alley, he always made sure his own name went on the label, and wise artists went along with the stipulation

Lorenzo Da Ponte was Jewish, born Emanuele Conegliano in 1749 in Ceneda, in the Republic of Venice. At his 1779 trial accused of "public concubinage" and "abduction of a respectable woman", it was alleged that he had been living in a brothel and organizing the entertainments there. He was found guilty and banished for fifteen years from Venice. He wrote the libretti for 28 operas by 11 composers
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Hatty
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In 2014 a detectorist uncovered the Galloway Hoard hailed by the National Museum of Scotland as

the richest collection of rare and unique Viking-age objects ever found in Britain or Ireland.

Judging by Museum of Scotland's appraisal, it's far broader in scope than simply 'Viking Age'

Other finds from around Britain or Ireland have been exceptional for a single class of object—for example, silver brooches or armlets. But the Galloway Hoard brings together a stunning variety of objects in one discovery, hinting at hitherto unknown connections between people across Europe and beyond. It also contains objects which have never before been discovered in a hoard of this age, some of which are utterly unique.

The first object to be found was a silver arm ring, which Derek McLennan, the detectorist, recognised as 'Viking'. The hoard itself occupied two levels, the top one just a couple of feet below where he found the arm ring.

Only one year before, in 2013, McLennan had discovered another Scottish hoard, also of 'unique' significance. He's a very lucky detectorist...

It was not his first discovery; in 2013, McLennan had discovered Scotland's largest hoard of medieval silver coins near Twynholm

...and a very wealthy one despite being sued by the Church of Scotland, the owner of the land where the hoard was found, for £1 million, half the agreed value of the hoard.
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Mick Harper
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Not so fast. Would a forger 'find' his hoard on Church of Scotland land? Actually he might, everything's a bit weird up there land-ownership-wise, but my preliminary reading would be the first one was genuine and serendipitous; the second ... um ... even more serendipitous. The libel laws up there are not weird at all.
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Hatty
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Neither the Church of Scotland nor Derek McLellan have commented on the case but it seems Scottish law about finding treasure is the finder is entitled to its full market value.

When the discovery was made in early September, he was in the company of two ministers who are also detectorists; Rev Dr David Bartholomew, a Church of Scotland minister of a rural Galloway charge, and Mike Smith, the pastor of an Elim Pentecostal Church in Galloway.

The hoard falls under the Scots law of treasure trove, and is currently in the care of the Treasure Trove Unit. The law provides for a reward to be made to the finder which is judged equivalent to the market value of the items. The Kirk said its General Trustees, as the landowners, have reached agreement with Mr McLennan about an equitable sharing of any proceeds which will eventually be awarded.

In Britain the finder is whoever occupies the land at the time of discovery but in practice detectorists and landowners go 50/50 on any rewards. Scotland apparently has a different take on Treasure Trove payouts

Scotland allows for finders to keep all of their rewards without splitting it with the property owner, so McLennan was planning on keeping his riches to himself — backpedaling on an alleged agreement he made with the Church of Scotland to split the money

The rare medieval coins with which McLennan was involved the year before were found with a detecting group friend. The find was valued at £13, 000 shared with the detecting group after the normal 50/50 split with the landowner.
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Mick Harper
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The same law applies in England save, as I understand it, everything under the ground belongs to the owner of the ground. That is why English detectorists are careful to get the owner's permission and usually agree on a 50/50 split beforehand. I am puzzled therefore why a) the Church of Scotland would give 50% away or b) the detectorists would give 50% away. They can't both be right.

The presence of the two divines makes, in my opinion, the find above board. It's not so much the cut of their cloth as the fact that no forger would trust three eye-witnesses keeping their story straight in the commission of a complex crime. (In England they would also be guilty of Conspiracy which can carry a life term.) This does not apply further up -- or indeed further down -- the forgery chain.

There may be something to this "Ooh, that's nice" [goes away, time passes, comes back, looks a foot further down] "Ooh, that's even nicer". We've come across it before.
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Mick Harper
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One thought occurs. If I was 'salting' a site I would make sure to take along a couple of local men-of-the-cloth to witness me finding it again.
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Mick Harper
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Another thought. The Elim Pentecostal Church believes that fossils were placed there by God to test man's faith. But did He put the archaeology there as well? If He did, His representatives on earth are entitled to 50% whatever earthly law says.
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Hatty
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Turns out this was third time lucky for McLennan.

A metal detector enthusiast blessed with “a magic touch” has discovered one of the most significant Viking hoards of the past century in southwest Scotland, his third outstanding find in less than a year.

Derek McLennan, 47, from Hollybush, Ayrshire, said he was stunned by his latest success, despite a track record which has seen him unearth hundreds of medieval coins at two separate sites.

The object that excited most interest was a silver cross described as Late Anglo-Saxon, which was found in the second layer about two feet down (beneath the Viking arm rings)

The Church of Scotland, on whose land the discovery was made, said an early Christian cross thought to date from the 9th or 10th century was among the objects unearthed. The solid silver cross has enamelled decorations which experts consider to be highly unusual.

Mr McLennan found the cross among dozens of silver arm rings and ingots some 24 inches (60 centimetres) below the ground - well beyond the depth his machine should have been able to register.

The best of the bunch was lower down

When the hole was fully excavated, Mr McLennan picked up another signal at its base. Further digging revealed a second level hoard of even higher quality, the Kirk said. That find included what is possibly the largest silver Carolingian pot ever discovered, with its lid still in place.

Meanwhile the Department of Early Medieval and Viking Collections at the National Museum of Scotland is still assessing the hoard in order to appreciate its true significance.
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