Forging Antiquity

The website for the Australian Research Council Discovery Project: Forging Antiquity: Authenticity, forgery and fake papyri

To forge is creative, but forgery now means creating a fake. ‘Forging Antiquity’ explores this ambiguous dichotomy by situating an examination of forged papyri within an historical analysis of the development of forgery, authentication techniques, and public debates over forgeries from the 19th century to the present day. By contextualising technical study of fakes within analysis of strategies of authenticating ancient papyri, traditional and emerging de-authentication practices, and the cultural context of forgery, its outcomes will provide a tool for future assessments of authenticity, illuminate the parallel development of the professional personae and skills of forgers and authenticators, and contribute to debate on who has the authority to pronounce on the past.

The project is supported by an Australian Research Council Discovery project grant from 2017–2019, and is a collaboration between Macquarie University and the University of Heidelberg.

In these pages you can learn about the project, its goals, our team, the workshops and seminars held by he project, see a gallery of examples of forged papyri and related material, see the working list of forged papyri and learn about our publications in progress and related projects taking place elsewhere. Contact us at to provide feedback on this website, report fake papyri, or for any other reason.