Forgery or Genuine Document

Angus Mitchell shows that new scientific methods are sometimes unable to settle old historical controversies.

The practice of forgery has a long tradition in the realms of both law and history. Forgery is a way by which reputations can be made or destroyed, insoluble cases solved, truth manipulated or the historical record controlled. There is often a prankish element to it, especially with literary forgery. Document examination has necessarily become an important part of the science of history, yet debates about the authenticity of documents are often long drawn out controversies. Recent advances in how documents can be forensically examined highlight the need for a more informed and uniform approach by historians to problems of authenticating disputed source material.

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