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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Evidence on Trial Public Lecture - Fakes, Forgeries and the Turin Shroud: the scientific evidence

23rd November 2015, 18:15 to 19:15, Kingsley Barrett Room, Calman Learning Centre, Professor Michael Tite (University of (Oxford)

The primary underlying theme of the lecture will be the role of scientific examination in providing evidence for the authenticity of antiquities that supplements the evidence provided by their stylistic attributes. The methods of scientific examination will include the investigation of the raw materials and fabrication methods used in the production of stone, metal and glass antiquities together with thermoluminescence dating of ceramics and radiocarbon dating of organic materials. Examples of the application of these methods will include the Getty kouros, the British Museum crystal skull, Etruscan bronze figurines, Neolithic pottery from Anatolia, the Turin Shroud and the Vinland Map. The damage caused to our understanding of the past by the illegal excavation of antiquities together with the consequent ethics of collecting and authenticating antiquities will also be considered.

Mike Tite finished his BA in Physics in 1960 at the University of Oxford, where he also received his doctors degree about Thermoluminescence dating at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art 1964. After his work at the Department of Ceramics, University of Leeds as research fellow the Department of Physics, University of Essex as lecturer and the Research Laboratory at the British Museum, he gained a professorship of Archaeological Science at the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art at the University of Oxford (1989–2004). Since 2004 he is Emeritus
Professor and Fellow of Linacre College.

The underlining theme of Professor Tite's research during the past 30 years has been the application of science to archaeology with an emphasis on study of the technology involved in the production of (1) glass and related early vitreous materials from Egypt and the Near East during the Bronze Age, and (2) glazed pottery from the Roman period until about 1500 AD from in the Europe, the Islamic world and China. 

This lecture is free and open to all.


Map – The Calman Learning Centre is denoted at building number: 43.

Contact for more information about this event.