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Israeli judge says antiquity inscriptions weren’t forged

(JTA) — Two stones with inscriptions that may date back to First Temple times are not fakes, according to an Israeli judge and a panel of experts.

An Israeli antiquities dealer, Oded Golan, had been accused of faking an inscription on an artifact called the “Jehoash Inscription,” a stone tablet describing renovations of the First Temple in Jerusalem. The First Temple stood from 957 to 586 B.C.E.

Golan was also on trial for allegedly faking an ancient burial box with the inscription "James, brother of Jesus."

But a panel of unpaid experts, including New York-based paleontologist Howard Feldman, determined that the stones were not forgeries — though the judge’s ruling stopped short of calling them authentic.

“All evidence indicates that the production of the tablet and the carving of its inscription occurred essentially at the same time,” Feldman said in a press release. “It was not forged.”

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