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Inscription with the name of King Darius the Great turns out to be not authentic

The Darius inscription. (Photo: Yoli Schwartz/Israel Antiquities Authority)

Updated March 3, 2023 at 12:54 pm Israel time.

Following is a press release by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The Israel Antiquities Authority would like to inform the public that the inscription bearing the name Darius the great is not authentic.

Following the publication, the expert who participated in the excavation expedition last August, contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority. She is one of the few researchers specializing in ancient Aramaic inscriptions, and admitted demonstrating to a group of students the manner in which sherds were inscribed in ancient times. She then left the sherd on the site, which led to the erroneous identification. She was questioned and said this was done unintentionally and without malice. 

“The IAA takes full responsibility for the unfortunate event” Prof. Gideon Avni, the IAA’s chief scientist explained. “The sherd was examined by Dr. Haggai Misgav, a leading researcher on ancient Aramaic script and Sa’ar Ganor, an archaeologist studying the site of Tell Lachish and its region. However, as it turns out, the find does not bear an ancient inscription. As an institution that strives for the scientific truth, we are committed to correcting the mistake that was made and making it known to the public. In terms of ethical and scientific practices, we see this as a very severe occurrence. Leaving the newly inscribed sherd on the site was careless, and led to the mistake done by the researchers and distorted the scientific truth. Such cases in archaeological research are very few in number.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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