I recently published a series of translations of 50 Wikipedia articles on various forgers. That's not all, at that - it's not even half of all the currently known forgers.
The preface to the academic work "Manufacturing a Past for the Present: Forgery and Authenticity in Medievalist Texts and Objects in Nineteenth-Century Europe
" (Volume 7 of the National Cultural Cultivation
The variations of “medievalist” and pseudo-antique forgeries, falsifications, manipulations of texts or objects, confabulation, mystifications, products of poetic imagination, and so on are spread over a very wide palette. Some are outright bizarre, some highly puzzling, some aesthetically enjoyable, and some almost ridiculous. Nonetheless, their place in national memory may still be an issue of controversy.
An idea has emerged to systematise such data: to start compiling a database of forgers. In it, in addition to Russian and English translations of Wikipedia articles, manually add the following fields to each personal record:
- known names and pseudonyms of the forger;
- alleged period of falsification activity;
- the type of the falsification activity;a
- known regions of residence of the falsifier;
- regions associated with the forger's activities;
- names of people and organizations related to his/her activity;
- additional references.
This will enable advanced searches, specific sampling and statistical analysis.
To begin with, it is worth filling such a database with recognised forgeries (of which there are more than a hundred).
As the case of James Mellaart shows: his professional career as an archaeologist began with the falsification of a find from Doraca, which did not affect his later credibility as the discoverer of the "first city on Earth". Nor have his "discoveries" been reviewed, following repeated public accusations of falsification by his colleagues. The status of his discoveries was only reconsidered as a result of a particular international situation, perhaps becoming an instrument of political pressure.
Therefore, once the database will be populated with most generally acknowledged falsifiers, it can begin to be populated with those who are at least once publicly suspected of falsification. There is also a large category of artifacts that are now generally accepted as forgeries (or at least incorrectly dated), but whose authorship is unknown. A well-known example is the Shroud of Turin. I plan to further fill the database with them too, as separate records with the same fields (regions, associated names of people and organizations, etc.), but related to the "anonymous forger".
I plan to fill up the database of forgers for my own needs, as an additional tool in the personal study of the past, but i suppose that such a tool can be useful not only in my personal researches. Therefore, i am ready to provide not only public availability, but also a possibility to fill it by anyone who wishes. If anyone is interested in such a project, please have your say.