How is forgery of ancient silver identified? A reply to Elsayed-Ali (2021)

Tzilla Eshel, Ayelet Gilboa, Naama Yahalom-Mack, Yigal Erel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We respond to Hani E. Elsayed-Ali's critique according to which silver-copper alloys produced in the Southern Levant during the Late Bronze Age III (∼1200‒1150 BCE) do not constitute forgery, as we proposed. We argue that the technical analyses of weight and reflectance suggested by Elsayed-Ali are not reliable stand-alone means for the identification of forgery in silver-copper-(arsenic) alloys, and that deliberateness, rather than identifiability should be used to tell apart debasement from forgery. We stand behind our original claim, that the addition of arsenic, and the use of silver coatings of copper cores are evidence of deliberate, standardized forgery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105503
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Hani E. Elsayed-Ali for his fresh look at the subject of silver forgery and forgery in general. We thank Yitzchak Jaffe from the University of Haifa for some of the theoretical references. We also thank the editors of JAS who provided us with the opportunity to respond to Elsayed-Ali's comment, and the anonymous reviewers for the helpful remarks.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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