conference registration

Fakes and Written Artefacts
From Antique Counterfeits to Modern Forgeries

Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg
28 February - 1 March 2018


The words “fake”, “forgery” or “counterfeit” applied to a written artefact covers different meanings according to the motivation that was at the origin of its creation. It may be the result of a deliberate act of passing something for what it is not, of a tentative manipulation of history for propaganda purposes or rewriting history (apocryph) or of lies by omission or mythification.
Fakes have made their way through all written cultures, past and present, in various manners. In Antiquity already, scribes copied ancient inscriptions and manuscripts, or created new ones imitating archaic scripts, thus producing what we would call today “antique fakes” or “authentic fakes”. By contrast, the expression “modern fakes” refers to written artefacts produced these last centuries but which pretend to be ancient. The motivation of their production may be economic, religious, or fame. These forgeries have for common to keep secret their status of fake. On the contrary, fakes made within the frame of experiments may be referred to as “useful fakes”. They help researchers to understand the ancient writing techniques.
How to identify fakes? Combining the study of historical contents, epigraphy and paleography analyses, and scientific investigations help to detect forgeries. However, there are several famous unsolved cases for which even new technologies were unable to provide a clear answer. How do museums deal with fakes? Are they presented in show cases as educational materials or hidden in the museum’s storerooms? What are the reactions of the scientific community toward fakes between skepticism and credulity?

Programme and Abstracts

Download the conference programme and abstracts (updated 23 January 2018)


The conference will be held at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Warburgstraße 26, Hamburg, Germany. How to find us


Participation is free of charge and vistors are welcome. Please register below.
You may find the Hamburg Tourismus site useful for finding a suitable accommodation.
For more information please contact us.

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On which days will you attend the sessions?
Wednesday, 28 February
Thursday, 1 March

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