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A discovery “extraordinary and of global significance” or a scam. That is what as of this Monday is settled in the courts of Vitoria-Gasteiz, where three members of a team of archaeologists face the alleged discoveries they made at the site from Iruña-Veleia, located 10 kilometers from the capital of Alava. In 2006, the then director of the excavation, Eliseo GilHe announced the discovery of clay pieces with the inscription of a third-century Calvary and others with Egyptian and Basque references that advanced 600 years to the first written words known in the latter language. The revelations supposed a revolution in the history of linguistics and Christianity, since they anticipated the appearance of Euskera and the entrance of Christianity to the third century, when until then the first known vestige was the one collected in the glosses of San Millán, of the century XI Following this, Gil’s company, Lurmen, got a sponsorship of 3.7 million euros from the Basque public company Euskotren, in addition to grants from the Diputación de Álava, owner of the site. Gil and his team also managed to capture international attention and gain great prestige. Nevertheless, a commission formed by 26 experts He demonstrated in 2008 that the most controversial pieces, the most spectacular and striking, had been manipulated over others, true but vulgar. In the trial that starts today in Vitoria, the public prosecutor accused of falsifying up to 476 archaeological fragments of the site located next to the Alava town of Nanclares de la Oca.
Eleven days after Gil gave his first press conference on the artifacts, Gorrochategui says he delivered a letter expressing his doubts to the head of the Álava Archaeological Museum, Amelia Baldeón, who had a safe installed in her office to hold the artifacts. "She was shocked," Gorrochategui says. "I said that I had seen only a handful of pieces, so she showed me others and I saw ENIIAS, ANQVISIIS ET VENVS FILI. This can't be. For one thing, there's a comma, which is modern. And 'Eneas' should be written 'Aenae' and 'Venus' should be 'Veneris.' I had doubts about the Basque inscriptions, but it was harder to confirm because of the scant information we have of ancient Basque. But Latin is a different story. I decided that the Latin texts were better explained in Spanish, and the Basque inscriptions better explained in modern Basque. In the end, what explained everything was that they were fakes."
Gorrochategui says he spoke to Gil about his doubts, but Gil cited the archaeology and lab tests that supported the artifacts' authenticity. And other experts backed Gil at the time. "Everything was so strange," Gorrochategui says. "Was Eliseo tricked? Are the tests wrong, or am I wrong?"
The next online coup took place in November 2008. Cuesta, who works at a water analysis laboratory, wrote that one of the graphs in the Veleia patina report, which supposedly proved the inscriptions were made before the sherds were buried, was actually a manipulated copy of a sample graph advertised on the Internet by the German scientific instrumentation company FAST ComTec. The measure time, real time, and live time of the sample acquisition in the Veleia report, compiled by physicist Rubén Cerdán for Gil, are identical to those of the FAST ComTec graph, as is the date of acquisition: October 31, 1990.