This ministry has a museum in York, Nebraska, called The Clayton Museum of Ancient History. It features part of the extensive antiquity collection of Foster Stanback. The museum’s purpose is education, and the state of Nebraska has listed it as an important tourist attraction. In the years since the museum opened, we have received offers from people trying to sell us supposed valuable artifacts. There is always a danger in purchasing artifacts if their origin and authenticity can’t be proven. Recent Dead Sea Scroll frauds have shown that to be true.
Fakery is an ongoing problem. In the last 20 years, there have been 70 pieces of the Dead Sea Scrolls offered for sale on the antiquities market. Scientific studies have proven that many recently purchased fragments were frauds. The Museum of the Bible reported that all 16 of its prized fragments were fakes. Azusa Pacific University has concluded that the five fragments it bought for 1.3 million dollars are not authentic.
It is essential to understand that the Dead Sea Scrolls are not of theological value in today’s world. Their value was in authenticating the books of the Old Testament, and they have served that purpose well. The real Dead Sea Scrolls have been photographed and exhaustively studied.
Dead Sea Scroll frauds and other fake antiquities are on the market because they sell for high prices. They are collectors’ market objects. While they have cash value from that standpoint, they are not being stolen or faked for religious purposes but for profit motives.
— John N. Clayton © 2020