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The Solomon Treasures

The discovery in Jerusalem in 2007 of a tomb said to belong to the family of Jesus of Nazareth is just the latest in a long line of extraordinary finds which have recently come to light in the Holy Land. But not all these finds are quite what they seem. Both a stone tablet said to come from the Temple of Solomon, and an ossuary apparently belonging to the brother of Jesus, have been declared fakes. The official investigation then uncovered dozens of other fakes, and attention eventually focussed on one of the most revered objects in Israel: the ivory pomegranate. This artefact has been in the Israel Museum for nearly twenty years. Like the stone tablet, it too was linked to the Temple of Solomon – and astonishingly it too, investigators concluded, was fake. As forensic scientists now turn their attention to the ossuaries from the ‘Jesus family tomb’, Israeli archaeologists are left fearing that history and science is being repeatedly distorted, and they face a challenge to separate fact from fiction.

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