The expert team’s best guess is that the fragments of the Hebrew Bible are made of artificially colored leather rather than parchment, the material of the Royal Scrolls, which Bedouins accidentally stumbled upon in the Qumran Caves in the 1940s.

Up to 16 alleged fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Museum of the Bible have been revealed as fakes, reported National Geographic .

The museum, owned by Steve Green, the head of the Oklahoma City-based private art corporation Hobby Lobby, released fragments of the oldest surviving copies of the Hebrew Bible to art professionals, conservationists and scientists for their chemical and physical analysis.

“These fragments were manipulated with the intention of deceiving,” concluded researcher Colette Loll.

As experts scrutinized the alleged pieces of art and history, they discovered that most of the aforementioned exhibits were apparently made from antique leather rather than parchment, with the cover dipped in an amber-colored liquid to mimic the texture of the authentic parchments.

In addition to this, it was discovered that the ink deposits from the torn edges occurred in modern times. The report also stated that the fragments are very similar despite having been purchased from four different people.

Commenting on the puzzling findings, the museum’s CEO, Harry Hargrave, said the entity is trying to be “as transparent as possible,” noting that they are “victims – victims of misrepresentation,” saying “… we are victims of fraud.” .

The investigation led by artistic fraud expert Colette Loll and her assembled team spanned February to October last year, with Loll insisting on independence and the conditioning that the findings be disclosed to the public. The Bible Museum accepted the terms, and Loll noted that he had never worked with such a “direct” museum.

While the 200-plus-page report examined the authenticity of fragments of the Bible, it did not describe the origins of the forgery, including the chain of ownership. The identity of the forger remains unknown, despite multiple independent attempts by museum management and curators to determine this.

The tests have been conducted since 2017, when the Bible Museum was first opened, but it wasn’t until Colette Loll’s team’s analysis that the forgery was 100% proven.

The new findings, by the way, cast no doubt on the 100,000 actual fragments of the Dead Sea Scroll, most of which are stored in the Shrine of the Book, part of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

They date back to 1947, when Bedouin herders accidentally discovered clay pots in the Qumran caves. The latter, to the joy of the researchers, appeared to contain thousands of parchment scrolls over 1,800 years old, including some of the oldest surviving copies of the Hebrew Bible.