Is the Soleto Map a Forgery?

In November, news broke of the discovery of the Soleto Map, an ostrakon discovered two years ago that depicted the Salentine peninsula. The fragment, dated to 500 BC, was characterized as possibly the oldest map yet discovered in the history of Western civilization. (See previous entry: The Western World’s Oldest Map.)

Now, however, there are some questions being raised as to the Soleto Map’s authenticity. In an article in the January-February issue of the Dutch-language Geschiedenis Magazine, archaeologist Douwe Yntema expressed his doubts about the ostrakon, aspects of which simply do not make sense for a fifth-century-BC artifact. The article is not online, and it would be in Dutch if it were, but Peter van der Krogt summarized Yntema’s concerns on MapHist; see also Claus Moser’s post on Kartentisch (in German).

Yntema’s guess is that it was a prank played on the Soleto Map’s discoverer that got out of hand — and now it’s too far along to fess up. Should be interesting to see what happens next.