Ideology and forgery: The Deventer bones

Peter Pieper, Thijs J. Maarleveld, A. J. Timothy Jull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Forensic-science investigations have shown that the engravings on the bones from the Deventer collection of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, The Netherlands, appear to be very suspect. Neither the pictorial engravings of Bronze-Age or Carolingian style, nor of the runes, show any signs of weathering or decomposition. Research into the Dutch archives has also indicated the ideological motivation for these apparent forgeries and that the majority of the engravings seem to have been copied directly from a Nazi magazine, 'Hamer', in the early 1940s. In order to resolve definitely the question of whether the engravings are real or faked, we have measured the radiocarbon age of the bones themselves. These results showed that the oldest bone dates to the Middle Ages and the others are less than a few hundred years old. This confirmed that the engravings cannot be as old as they were purported to be. This noteworthy case of forgery which had presupposed a certain ideology should be of interest to the forensic scientist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • Archaeometry
  • Bone engravings
  • Deventer bones
  • Forgery Ideology
  • Forsenic archaeology
  • Radiocarbon dating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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