Biblical Archaeology Review 29:6, November/December 2003
Ossuary Update

Israel Antiquities Authority’s Report Deeply Flawed

By André Lemaire

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) recently formed a committee to decide whether the James ossuary inscription and the Yehoash (or Jehoash) inscription are authentic or forgeries. I readily acknowledge the difficulty of the committee’s task. I also acknowledge the quality of the research and publications by my colleagues, some of whom I have known for decades. I therefore hesitate to comment on the work of the IAA committee, but its conclusions, announced at a widely publicized press conference, are at variance with my own conclusions regarding the inscription on the James ossuary.a (I shall not address the question of the Yehoash inscription.) If I kept silent, people would think that I am convinced by the IAA committee or that I simply do not want to take into account their position—which is not the case.

Therefore I have no choice but to critically assess the committee’s work. After all, that is what the committee members presumably did with my own research into the ossuary inscription—although there is not a single mention of my findings by any of the committee members.

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