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Harry Falk is a Professor emeritus of Indology at the Freie Universität Berlin, member of the Academy of Science and Literature, Mainz, and the German Archaeological Institute. He held the chair of Indian Philology in Berlin since 1993 and retired in 2012. His work includes Writing in Ancient India - A Survey of Research (1993, in German), Asokan Sites and Artefacts (Mainz 2006) and several papers with editions of newly found Buddhist manuscripts written in Kharosthi script on birch-bark from the first century CE. Most of his papers on epigraphy and Indian chronology are combined in H.F, Harisyenalekhapañcasika - Fifty selected papers on Indian epigraphy and chronology, ed. by B. Schneider and I. Strauch, Bremen 2013.
(as published in Charles Allen's 'The Buddha and Dr Führer' Haus publishing 2008)
Richard Saloman is a Professor of Asian Languages and Literature at the University of Washington. He is Director of the Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project which is a joint venture between the British Library and the University of Washington. He received a Ph.D (with distinction) in Sanskrit from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975 and was elected President of the American Oriental Society in 2014. He is general editor of the Gandahãran Buddhist Text series and has published Indian Epigraphy - A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in the Indo-Aryan Languages, Oxford University Press 1998
Professor Ahmad Hasan Dani (1920-2009) was a Pakistani archaeologist, historian and linguist. He was among the foremost authorities on Central Asian and South Asian archaeology and history. During his career, Dani was awarded honorary fellowships by the Royal Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (1969), the German Archaeological Institute (1981) and the Royal Asiatic Society (1991). He had more than 30 published books and numerous journal articles to his credit.
Scientific analysis of the gems
In 2014 an expert from a major museum viewed the jewels. They were not removed from their cases and no microscope was available. It was noted that some jewels resembled items found at Bodh Gaya, currently in the British Museum, but others appeared to be from a later period and would therefore be inconsistent with the date of the find. As it was believed that the collection contained a number of glass pieces which could be dated using new technology, further evaluation was recommended. The expertise of Andrew Shortland from the forensic department of Cranfield University and gemologist Jack Ogden was sought.
W.C Peppé had three cases made for the gems by Spink & Co in 1903. When the gems returned to India to be lent out for exhibitions one of them was smashed. The contents were placed in a shoebox marked relics for transportation back to England. Historian Charles Allen remembers seeing this box when he first visited Neil Peppé in 2003. Other items that were not related to the Piprahwa find had been included in the box alongside the cloth that held the contents of the smashed third case. There was also a jam jar that held a number of 'cruder' stones. Allen has speculated that these could have come from a smashed vase found early on in the excavation and would thus date to a later, perhaps Kushan, period. It was also possible that these stones were in no way related to the find. Research at Cranfields University has confirmed that this is most likely the case. Indeed the original collection turned out to contain no glass at all. It was only three of the cruder stones that were glass and so lent themselves to testing.
It was left to gemologist, Jack Ogden, to examine drilling and polishing techniques under a microscope and make comparisons to similar items that had already been found elsewhere and dated.
It should also be noted that any kind of destructive testing was rejected on both religious and scientific grounds. Dr. Fiona Brock’s piece explains why radiocarbon dating of coral and pearls would be inconclusive. Advice sought from Asian Buddhists elicited this response:
Even reliquary offerings like jewels that are kept in contact with buddha relics for long are sacred. Any type of test / destruction / irradiation of buddha relics may be a very bad karma.
Dr Jack Ogden is founder of the Society of Jewellery Historians and a leading authority on the materials, technology, and authenticity of ancient jewellery. He is the author of numerous articles and a book on jewellery of the ancient world. His work includes consulting, working with museums, auction houses, dealers and collectors worldwide, mainly advising on problems of authenticity of ancient and historical jewellery. He has written and lectured widely on his subject and taught courses at The J. Paul Getty Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Institute of Fine Arts (NY) and Institute of Archaeology (London). He is an elected Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London and has been awarded a Doctorate from Durham University (Egyptology), the Gem-A Gemmology Diploma (with distinction) and the Diploma in Art Profession Law and Ethics (with distinction) from the Institute of Art Law. From 1995 to 2000 he was Secretary General to CIBJO and Chief Executive of the NAG. He joined Gem-A as CEO in 2004, a post he held until 2012. He is now working for Gem-A part-time as an international ambassador.