The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC says five of its most valuable artifacts — once thought to be part of the historic Dead Sea Scrolls — are fake and will not be displayed anymore.
German-based scholars tested the fragments and found that five "show characteristics inconsistent with ancient origin and therefore will no longer be displayed at the museum."
CNN raised questions about the museum's Dead Sea Scroll fragments in an article published last November, as the Green family prepared to unveil their new, $500 million museum. At 430,000 square feet, and with views of the Capitol, the Bible museum represents a significant investment for its evangelical founders.
Now scholars say the Dead Sea forgeries could be part of the most significant sham in biblical archeology since the "Gospel of Jesus' Wife," a fiasco that hoodwinked a Harvard scholar and made worldwide news in 2012. Some scholars estimate that as many as 70 forged fragmentshave hit the market since 2002.
Oklahoma billionaires, the Greens are best-known for their chain of Hobby Lobby craft stores and their religious freedom battle with the Obama administration over covering contraception in company health care plans.
"Though we had hoped the testing would render different results, this is an opportunity to educate the public on the importance of verifying the authenticity of rare biblical artifacts, the elaborate testing process undertaken and our commitment to transparency," said Jeffrey Kloha, the chief curatorial officer for Museum of the Bible. CNN