Spanish Archaeologist Found Guilty of Faking Artifacts

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A Spanish archaeologist was found guilty of faking many of his discoveries. Eliseo Gil formerly worked as the director of excavations at the Roman archaeological site of Iruña-Veleia in Spain’s Basque Country. He received a prison sentence of more than two years and was fined €12,490 (over $14,000) for falsification of documents and fraud. The court ruled that many of Gil’s finds were manipulated to make it seem like they contained inscriptions representing the era they supposedly belonged to. Gil first made headlines back in 2006 when he presented ancient artifacts excavated from Veleia that dated back to the third century. His discoveries included clay pots engraved with one of the first depictions of a religious figure, Egyptian hieroglyphics, and the earliest written example of the Basque language. Gil claimed that his discovery, which was considered revolutionary at the time, could potentially rewrite history. However, some experts questioned the authenticity of his artifacts two years later. According to them, some of the objects contained traces of modern glue and references to a 17th-century philosopher. Additionally, the inscriptions used were written with modern spelling and contained names and phrases inconsistent with the time period that they were supposedly from. Gil claimed that he was innocent and plans to appeal the verdict. According to Gil’s lawyer, the archaeologist asserted that it has not been proven that the pieces were fake. He added that if the artifacts truly had been manipulated, it was still unclear who did it.

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