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While some discoveries remain controversial because the suspicion of fraud has been raised, others are clearly hoaxes. Many are malicious or done with the intent of enhancing the discoverer’s reputation: a good example of the latter is provided by the career of Charles Dawson (1864-1916), who was not only ‘discoverer’ of Piltdown Man, the well-known fossil fraud, but also of numerous objects, including stamped ‘Roman tiles’, iron figurines and much more.

In this section, we look at some of the more egregious examples of archaeological fraud as well as some lesser-known instances.