Information about Replications - Fakes


In general, only prehistoric or ethnological originals are offered by He-Artefakte, if it is different in individual cases, it will be pointed out separately.

But to the topic replications and fakes, some words of information and caution.


At the definition of faking it should be mentioned, That a regularly labelled replication has its place at a collector/museum, since originals are often not available, too expensive or cannot shown to the publicity because of security reasons.
The restoration of an artifact is also a recognized practice as long as a buyer is advised of this.

To prevent misunderstandings a clear definition shall be given here, when an artifact will be a fake:
In the opinion of He-Artefakte an artifact will be a fake if it is unlabelled and treated intensive to get looking as an old/prehistoric artifact, so that a buyer is conscious cheated with the appeariance about age and origin of it wthout any declaration.

Being only this kind of artefacts described in the following lines as fakes.

Collector principle:
The more beautiful, large and more undamaged an artifact looks, the more exactly it should be examined during or before purchase!

Replication of a "Dovetail" from USA, measurements 129 x 47 x 7 mm. Artefact was sold in Germany with a certificate of prehistoric origin 10-15 years ago.

Two kinds of fakes can be distinguished in principle:

1.) The complete artifact is faked.

2.) A real prehistoric artifact is falsified in the way of reworking or changing in different areas.

To item 1.
The complete artifact is faked.

completely faked artifacts are recognized with some experience quite easily.
But don't deceive, sometimes it is not easy to detect a fake. Today experienced faker do everything by means of mechanical and chemical treatment up to artificial silica brightness to let an artefact seem as genuine as possible.
However, with a 10x pocket magnifying glass, which is an inalienable tool for every collector during acquisition, one can check already many faked artifacts successfully.
But note, many professionally faked artifacts are to be identified only with long experience and a high performance microscope.
A collector should note that there are some few artifacts which will give no 100% truness for prehistoric origin, this are so-called questionable artifacts, questionable whether true prehistoric origin or faked.
The following collector principle should in this case be valid:

Turn off wishful thinking, do not purchase for genuine. Note, questionable artifacts do not belong into a collection. If for any reason purchased, it should be marked as replication!

But why must we speak about this topic at all? Many collector collect the artifacts self, so that problem will not be relevant for them.

One must admit anyway that today it is more difficult to find high quality artifacts because many of them are often destroyed by field tools during intensive plowing of fieldsites. Furthermore, everybody doesn't have the time searching for artifacts.

On the other side collecting of artifacts is submitted to definite legal requirements which everybody doesn't fulfil.

The most artifacts you will find today in collections, have often been found around the turn of the century until the 1950-60 years. Some of these collections and artifacts from this, today will be offered for experienced collectors as well for follow-up collectors.

Here the possibility opens up for a collector to aquire an artifact or artifacts for which some collectors looked their whole life.

Therefore once in a while one stands today before the question whether an  artifact is prehistoric or not.

That are the reasons why we want to have a look at this topic.

What will be faked?

Within the last years the interest in archaeological artifacts has strengthened itself noticeably, so the problem of faking also has risen, so everything what could be selled in this range will be manufactured recently.

In which an artifact recently produced doesn't have to be always at once to be produced as fake. This may happen, often after years, going through several hands and one day appearing as fake on the collector market.

At this has to be taken into account there aren't always the striking and expensive artifacts which are faked, since these are often checked and examined exactly on their trueness by different experts before acquisition.

The faker know about this and therefore it is often the normal mass of the artifacts which are faked since these are often purchased due to the lower prices without previous check.

One must himself be clear about that many modern flint craftsman just as good even better as the prehistoric people, can copy and manufacture flint tools in a short time.

They are able to treat these tools so that they look very old and are not to be distinguished with bare eye from prehistoric artifacts.

For this reason it has become more difficult within the last years to distinguish true prehistoric artifacts from faked artifacts. For this reason only long experience and the right equipment can protect your investment.

Dagger Replication from Denmark

Group of arrowheads, with partly recent reworking as serrating and new bases up to total faking
To item 2.

A genuine artifact has been recently changed and reworked in some areas.

Since most artefacts are found broken, these with pleasure will be used by fakers to create new bases and tips. Therefore this kind of fake will be recognize not so easy. The artifact often looks genuine on the first look and so one doesn't immediately notice the alteration.

To what should one pay attention?

Fundamental: The more beautiful and more undamaged an artifact looks, the more attentively, one should examine it critical before acquisition.

Recent reworking one can often already recognize under good illumination looked against the light.

The already mentioned 10x pocket magnifying glass is inalienably in this case. Critical ranges are the tip and the lateral edges in this range. Furthermore the base with possible recently made notchings.

The upvaluation of artifacts is also very common. A broken prehistoric celt get a recently made base, or a damaged axe blade will be re-polished or re-chipped, so that the artifact looks complete again.

A simple triangular arrow- or spearhead gets lateral notchings in the base area.

Special attention one should take at serrated arrow- and spearheads, because in many cases they are made recently, since the serration represents a considerable upvaluation of the artifact.

Genuine spearhead with recently finished lateral notchings to upvaluate the artifact. Measurements: 60 x 22 x 6 mm

Restoration of artifacts:

The opinions on the restoration of artifacts like to be various. Notwithstanding it is a far common and generally recognized method in all ranges of the archaeology.

Particularly valuable artefacts, as large spear-, arrowheads or daggers, surely justify a restoration to be able to imagine the complete artifact better.

A restored artifact falls automatically into the range of faking if it is not documented in the papers and a buyer is not informed about that matter. In that case the excuse, having not remarked it, will be quite implausible.


Also faker are conscious of the psychological aspect that a restored artifact cannot be faked. Therefore a small part of the artifact will be damaged with intention and restored to deceive the buyer. Later at the sale this restoration is stressed particularly to document the trueness of the artifact.

Example of a small restoration at a very beautiful genuine prehistoric artifact from the collection of He-Artefakte.
Type: Smith Point
Location found: Branch County, Michigan, USA.
Cultural Period: Middle Archaic, 7.000 - 4.000 B.P.
Dimensions: 135 x 72 x 12 mm.
At this beautiful artifact one surely can tolerate this restoration.
It surely can happen once that an expensive collector's item breaks, this itself is already angry enough.

Now the artifact will be glued expertly as far as this is possible, sometimes so specialistic, that only a microscopic examination makes the damage visible.

The value of the artifact has however sunk drastically, it is restored now and must be marked correspondingly.

Here the difficulties occur.

If this artifact will be sold as undamaged, it automatically falls into the range of faking if a buyer will not be informed about the real facts.

If you want to purchase an artifact, for check one should hold it under a bright illumination and look against the light, mostly glue remnants will be more shiny and mirror in the light.

A classic example is the below pictured Clovis point, which shows how attentively one should examine artifacts which you want to purchase.

Example of an expertly glued prehistoric artifact from the collection of


The artifact was offered undamaged. At the examination by He-Artefakte under the microscope, the glued crack was detected.

Type: Classic Clovis Point

Location found: Brown County, Ohio, USA.

Cultural Period: Early Paleo,15.000 - 9.000 B.P.
Dimension: 81 x 31,5 x 9 mm.

One surely can tolerate the glued crack at this beautiful artifact, however it should be documented.


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