Forging Antiquity - Malcolm Choat and Aussie's bibliography

Steven Avery

Forging Antiquity
The website for the Australian Research Council Discovery Project: Forging Antiquity: Authenticity, forgery and fake papyri


T. Wasserman and M. Choat, ‘“The Cable Guy:” Constantine Simonides and Codex Mayerianus’, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, 57(2020) 177–218.

L. Dundler ‘“Still covered in sand.looked very old.”— Legal Obligations in the Internet Market for Antiquities’, Heritage 2(3) (2019) 2311-2326. Full text:

M. Choat, ‘Forging Antiquities: the case of papyrus fakes’, in The Palgrave Handbook on Art Crime, edd. S. Hufnagel and D. Chappell (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillen, 2019), 557–86.

R. Yuen-Collingridge, ‘Constantine Simonides and papyrus fragments of Gemistus Pletho’s Μαγικὰ λόγια τῶν ἀπὸ Ζωροάστρου μάγων’, Analecta Papyrologica 31 (2019), 369–85.

M. Choat, ‘Dating Papyri: Familiarity, Instinct and Guesswork’, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 41 (2019) 58–83.

M. Choat, ‘The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife: A Preliminary Paleographical Assessment’, Harvard Theological Review 107 (2014), 160–62.

In press

R. Lucarelli and M. Choat, ‘Forged Copies of the Book of the Dead”, The Oxford Handbook of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, edd. Rita Lucarelli and Martin Stadler (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

In preparation

M. Choat, R. Yuen-Collingridge, and R. Ast, ‘A Catalog of Simonides’ Papyri’

R. Yuen-Collingridge, ‘The first forged papyrus in Euorpe: Pierre Hamon and his work on ancient scripts’.

Work is also in progress by Yuen-Collingridge, Choat, and Schwendner on other parts of the Simonides corpus, as well as on the historical circumstances of his career.


Papers given by the team on the themes of the project.

Malcolm Choat, Panelist: ‘Provenance in an eBay World: Does the Provenance of Ancient Artifacts Matter?’, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting Atlanta, 23 November 2015.

Malcolm Choat, ‘Forged memories, real emotions: discourses of authenticity and the debate over fake artifacts’, Moving Minds: Converting cognition and emotion in history, Macquarie University, Sydney, 2–4 March 2016.

Rachel-Yuen Collingridge ‘Zukunftsgeschichte and the future of history’, Markers of Authenticity, Macquarie University, 11 March 2016.

Malcolm Choat , ‘What is a forgery? Constantine Simonides, the Joseph Mayer papyri, and Hermippus of Beirut’, Markers of Authenticity, Macquarie University, 1 April 2016.

Malcolm Choat, ‘From Constantine Simonides to the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife: the Authentication of Papyri and Development of Palaeography’, Manuscript Forgeries and Counterfeiting Scripture in the Twenty-First Century, University of Agder, 13–15 April 2016.

Malcolm Choat, ‘Forging Antiquity: An overview of the Project’, Manuscript Forgeries and Counterfeiting Scripture in the Twenty-First Century, University of Agder, 13–15 April 2016.

Malcolm Choat, ‘Constantine Simonides and his Biblical Papyri’, Scripture, Reception, and Authenticity, a Markers of Authenticity workshop, 9 September 2016.

Malcolm Choat, ‘Speed-Dating Papyri: Familiarity, Instinct, and Guesswork’, Panel: Dating Early Christian Papyri: Old and New Methods, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, San Antonio, 21 November 2016.

Malcolm Choat, ‘Hermippus of Beirut, Simonides of Symi, and the forgery of papyri’, Australasian Society for Classical Studies Annual Conference, Victoria University, Wellington, 31 January–3 February 2017.

Malcolm Choat and Rachel Yuen-Collingridge, ‘Jean Mabillon, Pierre Hamon, and the first forged papyrus in Europe’, Australia and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies biennial conference, Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, 7–10 February 2017.

Malcolm Choat, Rachel Yuen-Collingridge, and Vanessa Mawby, ‘Forging Antiquity: Insights from a new ARC Discovery Project’, Markers of Authenticity, Macquarie University, 2 June 2017.

Lauren Dundler in discussion with Iain Shearer, ‘The Internet Antiquities Trade: Insight into an Invisible Market?’, Markers of Authenticity, Macquarie University, 9 June 2017.

Lauren Dundler, ‘Collecting Papyrus in the 21st Century: Price, Provenance and Personae’,Immortal Words: Classical Antiquity Then and Now: AMPHORAE XI, University of Sydney, 12–14 July 2017.

Malcolm Choat and Tommy Wasserman, ‘The Cable Guy: Constantine Simonides and His New Testament Papyri’, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Boston, 18 November 2017.

Malcolm Choat, Panelist: ‘The United States of Hobby Lobby’, Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, Boston, 20 November 2017.

Lauren Dundler, ‘(Re)Defining Provenance: Origins, Authenticity, and a Performance of Taste in the Internet Market for Papyrus’, Australasian Society for Classical Studies Annual Conference, University of Queensland, 30 January – 2 February 2018.

Malcolm Choat, ‘The Forger and the Chemist: Constantine Simonides, Henry Deane, and the (de)authentication of Forged Manuscripts’, Humanities Research Centre Seminar Series, Australian National University, 27 February 2018.

Related Projects

There are a range of projects being currently undertaken in various institutions on issues related to forged antiquities. Below we list those of which we are aware: to alert us to others, please email

The Lying Pen of Scribes. Manuscript Forgeries and Counterfeiting Scripture in the Twenty-First Century A project based at the University of Agder in Norway, concentrating on forged manuscripts which have come to light in the last fifteen years, with a special focus on recently published and publicised Dead Sea Scrolls material. Also visit them on facebook. False testimonianze. Copie, contraffazioni, manipolazioni e abusi del documento epigrafico antico A National Research Project funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, based at Ca' Foscari University of Venice and led by Lorenzo Calvelli, this project focuses on fake Roman inscriptions. For further information on the project, see this poster. Forged antiquities -- a forthcoming book by Christopher Rollston Christopher Rollston (institutional page) is writing a book on ancient and modern epigraphic and other forgeries; see also his blog. Forgery and the Ancient: Art, Agency, Authorship The 2017--2018 Seminar of the Humanities Research Center at Rice University, Texas is based on the theme 'Forgery and the Ancient'. Further information may be found at Rice's seminars page. Leibniz Research Alliance Historical Authenticity The Leibniz Research Alliance on Historical Authenticity explores contemporary conceptions of authenticity through a range of approaches. 'Imitations, copies et faux. Des rives du Nil à Rome.' A report on a recent symposium of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres on this theme.


A selection of earlier work on forged papyri (to be expanded in the future).

Coles R.A. and Gallazzi, C. “Papyri and Ostraka: Alterations and Counterfeits”, in Scritti in onore di Orsolina Montevecchi (Bologna: Clueb, 1981), pp. 99–105.

Horak, U. “Fälschungen auf Papyrus, Pergament, Papier und Ostraka”, Tyche 6(1991), pp. 91–98.

Horak, U. “Fälschungen auf Papyrus, Pergament und Papier”, in C. Gastgeber (ed.), Kopie und Fälschung (Graz: Adeva Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt, 2001), pp. 51–60.

Schmidt, C. “Über moderne Papyrusfälschungen”, in Actes du Ve Congrès international de Papyrologie, Oxford 30 août-3 septembre 1937 (Bruxelles: Fondation égyptologique reine Élisabeth, 1938), pp. 370–380.
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Steven Avery


This paper forms part of work on a research project on forged papyri funded by the Australian
Research Council
(DP170104196), who I thank for support for this research. It draws on work
undertaken by the project team, in particular Rachel Yuen-Collingridge and Vanessa Mawby,
whom I thank for their invaluable contributions to this work. I also wish to acknowledge the
invaluable assistance of Dr Christian Förstel, curator of Greek manuscripts at the Bibliothèque
Nationale de France, and thank Roberta Mazza for inviting me to be involved in the session
at the 2016 Society of Biblical Literature Annual meeting at which this paper was originally
given. Papyri are abbreviated according to the ‘Checklist of Editions of Greek, Latin, Demotic,
and Coptic Papyri, Ostraca, and Tablets’, online at

Steven Avery


Steven Avery

The Forger and the Chemist: Constantine Simonides, Henry Deane, and the (de)authentication of Forged Manuscripts