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The Forger’s Tale: An Insider’s Account of Corrupting the Corpus of Cycladic Figures

Tsirogiannis, Christos, Gill, David W.J., Chippindale, Christopher (2022) The Forger’s Tale: An Insider’s Account of Corrupting the Corpus of Cycladic Figures. International Journal of Cultural Property, 29 (3). pp. 369-385. ISSN 0940-7391. E-ISSN 1465-7317. (doi:10.1017/S0940739122000352) (KAR id:99198)


Many of the known Cycladic figures, the late prehistoric human-shaped sculptures from the Aegean archipelago, came from 20th-century illicit excavations, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. It is also known that figures were being faked at the time, and perhaps also earlier: a few fakes have been identified, whilst other figures are under suspicion. Interviews with a man who faked Cycladic figures in the 1980s and 1990s give us a first insider’s autobiographical account of the forging business. This article offers, step-by-step, the method that two forgers developed to create fake figures, to treat them so that they appeared ancient, and to sell them on on. The Forger has identified a few of these forgeries from photographs of figures; his story is consistent with other information, and seems to ring true. By verifying various elements in The Forger’s testimony, from names of well-known figures in the modern antiquities market to small details and dates, we are able to evaluate the validity of the narrative; to use it in order to uncover the true paths that fake objects followed into various collections; and to highlight valuable provenance information that no one involved in trading these objects was ever willing to provide.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0940739122000352
Uncontrolled keywords: forgeries Cycladic Cyclades Aegean Marble forgers antiquities cultural property museology collecting
Subjects: A General Works > AM Museums. Collectors and collecting
C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: University of Kent (
European Union (
Depositing User: David Gill
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2022 22:34 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2023 15:23 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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