Meet 3 of History's Greatest Archaeological Frauds

If you enjoy archeology and paleontology, you may have been interested in several articles published here in Mega Curioso about these themes, right? After all, the discoveries in these areas are truly amazing, and some even impact the way we understand the world and the evolution of society. However, some less scrupulous scientists have tried to forge artifacts and theories to enter history.

Then you can check out three of the biggest - and most bizarre - archaeological scams in the world, selected from an interesting article published by the Oddee folks.

1 - The Fiji Mermaid

Image Source: Playback / Oddee

To this day it is debated whether or not mermaids exist, and it is not uncommon to see news about this or that team of researchers who discovered some sinister carcass or filmed bizarre creatures in the sea. However, in the mid-19th century, Dr. J. Griffin, an alleged English researcher of such a British High School of Natural History, appeared in New York with the body of a mermaid who was reportedly captured near Fiji and caused a furor. .

Shortly thereafter, a man named PT Barnum - museum owner and show organizer - convinced Griffin to expose his find on Broadway, and in fact crowds paid to see the mermaid. However, it soon turned out that the English researcher was actually named Levi Lyman, and that instead of being a scientist, he was a “doctor” in pickaxes. In addition, such a British high school did not even exist, and Barnum was involved in all the trouble.

The supposed mermaid was actually the skeleton of a monkey - torso and skull - sewn to a fish's body, all covered with papier-mache to give the "composition" a more scientifically realistic look.

2 - The Saitafernes Tiara

Image Source: Playback / Oddee

The spectacular piece above - all in gold and "belonging" to the former Greek king Saitafernes - was purchased by the Louvre on April 1, 1896 (watch out for the date!) For a fortune of 200, 000 gold francs. The nearly six-foot-tall artifact featured "Iliad" passages and everyday scenes of the people quoted on its surface, and according to the museum's experts, the engravings confirmed events that took place between the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC.

However, as soon as the Louvre announced the acquisition of the tiara, a German archaeologist disputed the authenticity of the piece. The researcher pointed out disagreements regarding the style of the engravings and the lack of damage and signs of aging, and for years the museum defended its treasure. That until news of this debate reached Odessa, which at that time belonged to Russia ...

It was then that Israel Rouchomovski, a skilled city goldsmith, told that he had made the tiara at the request of a man named Hochmann. This person even showed history books with the reasons he wanted recorded in the play, and said it was a gift for an archaeologist friend. Today the tiara is on display in the "Hall of Fraud" with eight other Monas Lisas and is a reminder of a huge embarrassment suffered by the museum.

3 - The Rhodugune Mummy

Image Source: Playback / Oddee

In 2000, the discovery of a mummy more than 2, 600 years old after an earthquake in Pakistan gained international prominence. It was the body of a woman, who was inside a wooden sarcophagus protected by a stone casket and wore a crown and mask made of gold. The internal organs had been removed, and the corpse had been shrouded like the Egyptian mummies.

In addition, the mummy bore a gold plaque on the chest with inscriptions that said her name was Rhodugune, and that she was the daughter of the great King Xerxes. All this evidence led archaeologists to speculate that the woman might be an Egyptian princess who would have married a Persian prince, or even the daughter of Cyrus the Great, creator of one of the greatest empires in history. The problem: The mummy was for sale on the black market for $ 6 million.

However, while investigating the body, a new story came to light. The researchers noticed grammatical errors in the inscriptions and peculiarities in the way the princess had been mummified. Finally, X-ray and CT scans revealed that the princess's body was actually much more recent. He belonged to a poor woman who was probably murdered so that the corpse could be used for the creation of this farce - and to make a lot of money for the tricksters.

* Posted on 21/11/2016