Forging Antiquity

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

Richard Bott

Richard is currently undertaking a Masters of Research at Macquarie, and is interested in the authentication of fake antiquities; the licit and illicit components of the antiquities trade; the role of scholarship in both promoting and chastising the illicit trade in antiquities; and the pathways by which fraudulent, illicit, and licit antiquities travel. He comes to us from Victoria University of Wellington, where he completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Classical Studies, and Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology and Criminology, before going on to complete a Bachelor of Arts with Honours majoring in Classical Studies. His Honours’ dissertation examined how the presence of looted antiquities on the global antiquities market facilitated the presence of fake antiquities.

His current research seeks to explore the impact that fake antiquities can have on scholarship, and how they come to be seen as legitimate objects for study. This research focuses on the Sheikh Ibada fakes that emerged, probably from Egypt, during the middle of the 20th century, and went on to be used extensively as evidence in the founding of ideas about Coptic Art. Through this research Richard hopes to address issues relating to connoisseurship, the importance of provenance and provenience, and the protective nature that academic interaction affords fake antiquities.

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