chapter  1
Introduction: Sources, motives, approaches and disclosures
Pages 21

The deceptive simulation of fanything of value goes back into antiquity, and ancient accounts abound with descriptions of adulterated gold (Ramage and Craddock, 2000, pp. 27-53) and imitation gemstones (Taniguchi et al., 2002); moreover, the earliest known coin hoard contains counterfeits. Once antiques began to be appreciated they were copied, although the Roman copies of Greek originals do not seem to have been made with deceptive intent. Chinese Song period imitations of Han and earlier bronzes, made a thousand years ago, are more equivocal. They often do not seem to us to be deliberate forgeries, but they do have fake patinas and there are contemporary writings warning of the prevalence of forgeries and how to make them, the first on record (see Chapter 14, p. 356; Figure 14.7). From Late Antiquity in the West, the cult of relics flourished and, with that, the production of fakes and forgeries, exemplified by what is now perhaps the most famous of them all, the Shroud of Turin (see Chapter 5, p. 102). These began to be scientifically investigated by the Vatican in the late nineteenth century, probably the earliest dedicated authentication unit anywhere. Another prolific area of Medieval forgery was that of documents, particularly of supposedly old land grant charters, which could be used in cases of disputed ownership.