& CULTURAL NEWS©
Persian Treasure Turns Out To Be a Fake
- Czech archaeologists were left red-faced on
Tuesday after it emerged that a 10-centimetre-high
statuette which they had claimed depicted a 5th
century Persian goddess was nothing but a
five-year-old fake created by a pensioner.
Archaeologist David Danicek hit international
headlines last week after announcing that he had
found the "unique seal" earlier this
month on the same spot where he had earlier
uncovered an ancient burial ground during his
research into the great Central European
migrations of the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries.
"It is a sitting or half-kneeling woman's
figure in a long green coat with a golden hook and
probably a golden necklace who is hiding her face
behind a book. The lower part of the statue is
decorated with an erotic motif," Danicek's
colleague, Petr Charvat, an expert in oriental
cultures, enthused last week.
Danicek and Charvat speculated that the figure
must have reached Central Bohemia via trade routes
or military contacts along the northern border of
the Roman Empire.
But 72-year-old Jiri Simunlek, a retired craftsman
from the outskirts of Prague, told journalists on
Tuesday that the gypsum carving was actually
supposed to represent a "meditating
It had been fashioned in 1968 using a mould that
he had made from a figurine left to him by his
late brother, who had worked in a ceramics
Simunlek had used the mould to make several
statuettes for friends. Then, five years ago, his
grandchildren had tried to make their own copy,
but when the result proved unsatisfactory, he
threw it into a council skip along with some attic
junk, he said.