The Posthumous Disgrace of the Dark Master of Archaeological Hoaxes

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“Today, we are reminded that the world of archaeology is no different from oil, banking, chess clubs and churches. Wherever a group of people are to be found, while the greater part are honest folk making a day’s wage, among their numbers are unscrupulous and self-serving liars.

A British Archaeologist Fabricated Finds

Professor James Mellaart died in 2012 leaving an archaeological legacy, and was famed for the discovery of Çatalhöyük, a massive 9,000-year-old settlement in Turkey.             Now, scientists have bust Mellaart for having “faked several of the ancient murals and may have run a ‘forger’s workshop of sorts,” stated geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger, president of the Luwian Studies Foundation in a Luwian Studies Press Release .    ============================================================                          Media Release

British prehistorian forged documents throughout his life
An examination of James Mellaart’s estate reveals that the British prehistorian ran a veritable forger’s workshop throughout his life.
London / Zurich, 1 March 2018 – For half a century one of the great pioneers of Anatolian
archaeology, the British prehistorian James Mellaart (1925-2012), fabricated documents to reinforce his theories. This became clear during an examination of Mellaart’s estate in his former study in North London. Mellaart had made a name for himself with the discovery and excavation of important Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites in Turkey, including Beycesultan, Hacılar and Çatalhöyük. Still in his thirties, he was even considered the most famous archaeologist in the world. From 1958 onwards he was repeatedly involved in scandals. In several cases, colleagues accused him of falsifying evidence, but were unable to substantiate these allegations. The documents in Mellaart’s estate leave no doubt that the critics were entirely right.
The biggest scandal occurred in 1962 when the Turkish press condemned Mellaart’s
publication of the so-called Dorak treasure in a large-scale media campaign. It was followed by scathing criticism of the alleged discovery of murals in Çatalhöyük: Many years later Mellaart claimed to have found very extensive and detailed wall paintings in rooms that in the original excavation reports were said to have contained no murals. Mellaart published drawings of these murals – but no photos.
From 24 to 27 February 2018, James Mellaart’s son Alan and Swiss geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger examined the estate in Mellaart’s former apartment near London’s Finsbury Park. In June 2017, Eberhard Zangger accepted material from the estate which the prehistorian had identified as particularly important. Together with the Dutch linguist Fred Woudhuizen, Zangger published a series of Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions in December 2017. This publication evoked indignant accusations from experts around the world who believed the documents to be forgeries – probably fabricated by Mellaart himself, even though he had claimed he could not even read Luwian hieroglyphics.
“These allegations of forgery are undoubtedly justified,” says Zangger. “We did not find any ‘prototypes’ for the Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions, but we did find notebooks from Mellaart which prove that already as a student he had worked intensively on Luwian hieroglyphs and that this active interest continued for at least forty years.”
Whether Mellaart has completely fabricated the Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions that were recently published by Zangger and Woudhuizen is still uncertain. From the examination of his estate, however, it is clear that much of the “evidence” that Mellaart used to reinforce the authenticity of the inscriptions was made by himself.
In 1995 James Mellaart had written long letters to Eberhard Zangger informing him about other sensational documents that allegedly recorded the history of Western Asia Minor from about 2500 to 700 BC. Mellaart’s study in London contained a thick dossier showing how the prehistorian had constructed this one hundred-page-plus history of Western Asia Minor.
Zangger: “Mellaart seems to have used the same approach throughout his life. He first
acquired a tremendously broad and deep knowledge. Then he tried to use this knowledge to develop a coherent historic panorama. This is perfectly legitimate and consistent with scientific methodology. Instead of formulating theories, however, Mellaart fabricated drawings of artifacts and translations of alleged documents to reinforce his theories.”
There is no indication that Mellaart also faked artefacts. His creative work was limited to
drawings and texts.
Further information:
Luwian Studies
P.O. Box 166
8024 Zurich
Tel. +41 44 250 74 94                           ===================================================                                                 In a story that reads like the final plot in a sinister thriller, Zangger investigated Mellaart’s London apartment in February this year and found “prototypes,” of some of the supposedly ancient murals and inscriptions that Mellaart presented as authentic archaeological finds. Zangger also found “pieces of schist engraved with initial sketches of murals” that Mellaart claimed to have discovered at Çatalhöyük, indicating they were all forgeries. What’s more, Zangger also found out that Mellaart had “forged documents” that recorded some of the inscriptions discovered at Beyköy, a small village in Turkey.

In this instance, Mellaart wrote to Zangger 1995 about inscriptions he had supposedly discovered at Beyköy which were written in a language called Luwian, which Mellaart admitted he couldn’t read. Zangger, along with Fred Woudhuizen, took the bait in good faith and published a paper on one of these inscriptions in December 2017, in the journal Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society. Then, in February, he found documents in Mellaart’s apartment showing he was actually “skilled” in the ancient language, and the entire discovery was a hoax.

The Long Con

The most resounding question in this revelation is how on earth can one archaeologist pull the wool over the eyes of thousands, for so many decades? Did not one archaeologist ‘double check’ his discoveries at least once, in over half a decade? Well this was where Mellaart’s duplicity excelled according to Zangger:                                                                   “He used the same approach for over 50 years,” Zangger describes in the press release . “He would first acquire a tremendously broad and deep knowledge [about the area he was interested in]. Then, he would try to use this knowledge to develop a coherent historic panorama.” Zangger continued, “ “Mellaart would fabricate drawings of artifacts and translations of alleged documents to reinforce his theories.”

Where most professional scientists gather evidence, and from it, form conclusions, it would appear Mellaart did exactly the opposite. This not only goes firmly against the grain of the scientific method, it effectively tears holes in it and his “discoveries” can be called cancerous data. Other documents discovered in his apartment indicated that Mellaart tried to “persuade others to publish his forgeries before he died,” Zangger said, which would directly “harm other people’s careers.” It is virtually impossible to disentangle, what Zangger said was a “Harry Potter’ kind of world.”

Archaeological Fraudsters

Large scale archaeological hoaxes happen every few decades. Most famously, in 1960s Peru Javier Cabrera Darquea collected and popularized over 20,000  “Ica stones,” bearing depictions of dinosaurs being hunted by humans, using what looked like advanced technologies and weaponry. Creationists still claim the Ica stones prove that humans lived in proximity with dinosaurs and ancient alien theorists believe the stones are from a lost, advanced civilization from another galaxy. Notwithstanding, the hoaxer himself, after being busted in a 90s BBC documentary, admitted to creating the carvings and having “produced a patina by baking the stone in cow dung.” ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


James Mellaart

Excerpt: Dorak affair

In 1965 Mellaart gave a report of a new rich find from Dorak to Seton Lloydof the British Institute. Mellaart said that he had seen the treasures in 1958 in the Izmir home of a young woman whom he met on a train. She sat in front of him in the train car, wearing a gold bracelet which drew his attention. She told him that she had more at home, so he came over and saw the collection. She did not allow him to take photographs, but did let him make drawings of them. He gave the story to The Illustrated London News, and then Turkish authorities demanded to know why they had not been informed. He said that the young woman, named Anna Papastrati, asked him to keep it secret.[6] He asked the Institution to sponsor publications of the story, but they refused with no real evidence. When looking for Papastrati’s home, it turned out that the street address did not exist in Izmir, and her name was not found. The only document that can be traced to her is a typed letter that after examination appears to have been done by Mellaart’s wife Arlette.[7] In consequence, Turkish officials expelled Mellaart for suspected antiquities smuggling. He was later allowed to return but later banned completely.

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