Provenance vs. Authenticity: An Archaeological Perspective on the Post-2002 “Dead Sea Scrolls-Like” Fragments

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
View More View Less
  • 1 University of MaltaMsida MSD 2080Malta
  • | 2 University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel Hill, NC 27599
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):



This article adds an archaeological voice to the current debate surrounding the authenticity of recently acquired “Dead Sea Scrolls-like” fragments. In our opinion, since these fragments are above all archaeological artifacts, considerations of provenance should take priority over authenticity. We begin with a survey that contextualizes this debate in relation to other types of archaeological artifacts, and consider the importance of context as well as ethical, legal, moral, and economic issues relating to the acquisition and publication of unprovenanced artifacts. We conclude that any artifact that lacks verifiable documentation of its provenance—whether or not it is authentic—should not be studied or published by scholars. Finally, we urge professional organizations and publishers to establish or strengthen policies preventing the publication of such artifacts, even after primary publication or presentation elsewhere.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 1530 216 30
Full Text Views 272 80 23
PDF Views & Downloads 286 121 54