Forged evidence (False testimonianze) is a three-year research project sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Education within a scheme that allows funding for national research. The project started in February 2017 and will end in February 2020.
The project is directed by Lorenzo Calvelli (www.unive.it/persone/lorenzoc), Associate Professor in Ancient History and Latin Epigraphy at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, and involves scholars from 12 Italian Universities. Research Units are the following:
The first achieved result of the project has been to establish a common methodology, which has led to a shared definition of epigraphic forgery. Overcoming the discriminatory attitude of traditional literature on the topic of forgery, falsified inscriptions are now considered as the result of different cultures that express simultaneously a relationship with the classical past and with the time, when each forgery was produced. Our methodological efforts have been the object of discussion and resolution in the course of two large conferences, which took place in Venice in October 2018 and brought together dozens of international scholars. Their proceedings are currently being published as two online open-access edited volumes.
The key-points of the Forged evidence (False testimonianze) project are the following:
The Forged evidence (False testimonianze) project team is already making sure that it will leave an enduring legacy and that its scopes will be elaborated and enlarged by future projects. On the one hand, the aim is to extend the geographic range of the Epigraphic Database Falsae (EDF), to include the rest of Europe and the Mediterranean, provided that partnerships with foreign and international institutions are created. A second opportunity for getting better visibility for the project was recently offered by an agreement with the Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss-Slaby (EDCS). The EDCS is the largest existing open-access online searchable resource for classical epigraphy, providing texts and bibliographic citations (lemmata of editions) for nearly all published Latin inscriptions and comprising over 500,000 entries. Despite offering minimal metadata and no directly stored images, the EDCS has an average 3,000 requests per day and is used by scholars and students from all over the world to access further online resources and repositories, which are accessible via hyperlinks provided through simple individual queries. We intend to launch an interoperability project between the Epigraphic Database Falsae (EDF) and the Epigraphik-Datenbank Clauss-Slaby (EDCS), by allowing users of the latter to access fuller data and images, which are already available on the EDF.
Finally, the Forged evidence (False testimonianze) project team intends to go beyond the current database structure and head towards a real digital edition of the epigraphic texts, which are comprised in the Epigraphic Database Falsae (EDF). We will need to curate programmatically all diplomatic and expanded transcriptions, which already exist in the database, in order to import them into a tool for generating outputs in multiple formats, to include HTML, XML (EpiDoc) and RTF. We believe that this implementation of our project could be particularly fruitful and may represent the future challenge of an international collaborative endeavour.