Eliseo Gil, former director of excavations at Roman archeological site Iruña-Veleia, was sentenced to prison and a fine for “manipulating” documents that were considered historical at the time, either personally or “through third parties,” according to sentencing documents seen by CNN.
In 2005 and 2006, Gil announced that his team had found pieces of clay at a site near the town of Vitoria-Gasteizin the Spanish Basque Country. The artifacts, he said, date from the third century AD and contained Egyptian hieroglyphic references, depictions of crucifixes and signs of the Basque language, a Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.
The discovery was considered revolutionary at the time, and was thought to depict the first written example of the Basque language, 800 years earlier than previous examples, El Pais reported.
However, two years later, a multidisciplinary committee of experts in linguistics, ancient history, archeology, chemistry and philology considered the discovery false, Reuters reported. reported.
Experts who have studied the parts have found inconsistencies such as the absence of syntax, modern spellings of words and names and expressions that are not in line with the assumed time period, El Pais previously recorded.
According to the newspaper, experts in philology and ancient history have questioned the emergence of Latin words with more modern features, such as the use of the letter J in Jupiter instead of the Latin spelling, “Jupiter” or “Octavian Augustus”, to refer to Emperor Augustus.
At first, Gil and his team defended their controversial findings from the “great confusion” they caused.
In a statement seen on the archived version of the excavation team’s website, which is no longer active, Gil and his team defended the findings, which they say consist of “an extensive set of graffiti – inscriptions and engraved graffiti on various media – of exceptional character from presented texts and topics. “