Editing Piltdown Man forgery

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| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1983
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1983
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)
| style="vertical-align:top;" | In 1983, American archaeologist John H. Winslow put forward the theory that Doyle had carried out the 'hoax'. Doyle lived about seven miles from Piltdown, knew Dawson and Smith Woodward and was a qualified doctor, so could have had the scientific knowledge. He visited the Piltdown excavation in 1912 and is said to have been there on other occasions. His motive for the hoax, according to Winslow, was to fool the scientific community in revenge for their crusade against spiritualism, of which Doyle was to become a committed supporter. Doyle is also described as ‘a man who loved hoaxes, adventure, and danger’. Yet the case brought against him is based entirely on supposition.
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | In 1983, American archaeologist John H. Winslow put forward the theory that Doyle had carried out the hoax. Doyle lived about seven miles from Piltdown, knew Dawson and Smith Woodward and was a qualified doctor, so could have had the scientific knowledge. He visited the Piltdown excavation in 1912 and is said to have been there on other occasions. His motive for the hoax, according to Winslow, was to fool the scientific community in revenge for their crusade against spiritualism, of which Doyle was to become a committed supporter. Doyle is also described as ‘a man who loved hoaxes, adventure, and danger’. Yet the case brought against him is based entirely on supposition.
  
  
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1985
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1985
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Samuel Allinson Woodhead (c. 1872-1943)
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Samuel Allinson Woodhead (c. 1872-1943)
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Woodhead, a rural analytical chemist accompanied Dawson to make an unsuccessful search of the Barkham Manor pit in 1908, and also undertook an analysis of a small fragment of the Piltdown skull at Dawson’s request. He was present at the excavations on a number of occasions. From a letter written by his sons, it seems that Woodhead suspected foul play by Dawson but would not speak of the matter. Two other, earlier letters state that Woodhead not only was present when the Piltdown jaw was found but himself discovered the canine tooth — this recollection appears in reality to relate to the finding by Woodhead of a beaver tooth in October 1913. The case against Woodhead was put forward by Peter Costello in November 1985 but seems to be based on a distorted reading of the above-mentioned letters.
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | Woodhead accompanied Dawson to make an unsuccessful search of the Barkham Manor pit in 1908, and also undertook an analysis of a small fragment of the Piltdown skull at Dawson’s request. He was present at the excavations on a number of occasions. From a letter written by his sons, it seems that Woodhead suspected foul play by Dawson but would not speak of the matter. Two other, earlier letters state that Woodhead not only was present when the Piltdown jaw was found but himself discovered the canine tooth — this recollection appears in reality to relate to the finding by Woodhead of a beaver tooth in October 1913. The case against Woodhead was put forward by Peter Costello in November 1985 but seems to be based on a distorted reading of the above-mentioned letters.
 
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1986
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1986
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | John Theodore Hewitt (1868-1954)
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | John Theodore Hewitt (1868-1954)
| style="vertical-align:top;" | The revelation by Costello concerning Samuel Woodhead’s supposed involvement in the Piltdown fraud (previous entry) prompted a recollection from Mrs Elizabeth Pryce, a summary of which appeared in the March 1986 issue of the journal ''Antiquity''. In 1952–3 she had been a neighbour of J. T. Hewitt, Professor of Chemistry at Queen Mary College, London, who revealed that ‘he and a friend had made the Piltdown Man as a joke’. Long before this, in 1898, Hewitt had disagreed with Dawson over the significance of a natural gas discovery at Heathfield in Sussex. Dawson got Woodhead to undertake an independent analysis, the result of which supported Dawson’s argument and was subsequently proven correct. It appears that Woodhead and Hewitt later came into contact as fellow council members of the Society of Public Analysts, possibly in late 1911. From this connection, Peter Costello quickly constructed a scenario in which Hewitt obtains the faked Piltdown assemblage while Woodhead salts the site in order to make a fool of Dawson. Apart from Hewitt’s supposed ‘confession’, there is no real evidence to back up his story. It may be noted that Hewitt was described by his obituarist as having had ‘a strong sense of humour.’
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | The revelation by Costello concerning Samuel Woodhead’s supposed involvement in the Piltdown fraud (previous slide) prompted a recollection from Mrs Elizabeth Pryce, a summary of which appeared in the March 1986 issue of the journal Antiquity. In 1952–3 she had been a neighbour of J. T. Hewitt, Professor of Chemistry at Queen Mary College, London, who revealed that ‘he and a friend had made the Piltdown Man as a joke’. Long before this, in 1898, Hewitt had disagreed with Dawson over the significance of a natural gas discovery at Heathfield in Sussex. Dawson got Woodhead to undertake an independent analysis, the result of which supported Dawson’s argument and was subsequently proven correct. It appears that Woodhead and Hewitt later came into contact as fellow council members of the Society of Public Analysts, possibly in late 1911. From this connection, Peter Costello quickly constructed a scenario in which Hewitt obtains the faked Piltdown assemblage while Woodhead salts the site in order to make a fool of Dawson. Apart from Hewitt’s supposed ‘confession’, there is no real evidence to back up his story. It may be noted that Hewitt was described by his obituarist as having had ‘a strong sense of humour.’
 
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1986
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1986
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Lewis Abbott (1853-1953)
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Lewis Abbott (1853-1953)
| style="vertical-align:top;" | In his eminently readable book, ''The Piltdown Inquest'' (1986), Charles Blinderman examined the principal suspects and concluded that ‘Lewis Abbott has the best credentials to be the Piltdown hoaxer.’ Abbott was a jeweller at Hastings who established a reputation as an amateur prehistorian and supporter of the existence of primitive pre-Palaeolithic (Pliocene) man. He was thus a firm and vociferous believer in the authenticity of the much disputed ‘implements’ called ‘eoliths’, all of which were credited to ‘Pliocene Man’. Abbott was inclined to be bombastic and self important and was quick to claim credit for recognising the significance of Dawson’s discoveries at Piltdown. Abbott genuinely believed in the reality of Piltdown Man, and it is hard to see how his own self-seeking ambition could have been advanced by planting the Piltdown assemblage to the obvious advantage of Dawson.
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | In his eminently readable book, The Piltdown Inquest (1986), Charles Blinderman examined the principal suspects and concluded that ‘Lewis Abbott has the best credentials to be the Piltdown hoaxer.’ Abbott was a jeweller at Hastings who established a reputation as an amateur prehistorian and supporter of the existence of primitive pre-Palaeolithic (Pliocene) man. He was thus a firm and vociferous believer in the authenticity of the much disputed ‘implements’ called ‘eoliths’, all of which were credited to ‘Pliocene Man’. Abbott was inclined to be bombastic and self important and was quick to claim credit for recognising the significance of Dawson’s discoveries at Piltdown. Abbott genuinely believed in the reality of Piltdown Man, and it is hard to see how his own self-seeking ambition could have been advanced by planting the Piltdown assemblage to the obvious advantage of Dawson.
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 045.jpg|150px|Lewis Abbott. © The Geological Society (GSL/POR/43/3-1)]]
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 045.jpg|150px|Lewis Abbott. © The Geological Society (GSL/POR/43/3-1)]]
 
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1990
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1990
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Frank Oswell Barlow (1880-1950)
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Frank Oswell Barlow (1880-1950)
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Caroline Grigson, curator of the Odontological Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, suggested in 1990 that Frank Barlow, a preparator in the Geology Department at the Natural History Museum, could have been Dawson’s accomplice. Barlow was responsible for making the Piltdown casts, from the sale of which he derived some financial benefit. Why, for example, did he not notice or draw attention to the evidence of artificial abrasion on the teeth? He could have supplied the Piltdown jaw from un-catalogued material held at the museum. Dawson may have sought Barlow’s advice on the preservation and hardening of fossil material. Yet any suggestion of connivance between them amounts to mere speculation, having as its basis the commonly held view that Dawson was incapable of creating the forgery alone.
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | Caroline Grigson, curator of the Odontological Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, suggested in 1990 that Frank Barlow, a preparator the Geology Department at the Natural History Museum, could have been Dawson’s accomplice. Barlow was responsible for making the Piltdown casts, from the sale of which he derived some financial benefit. Why, for example, did he not notice or draw attention to the evidence of artificial abrasion on the teeth? He could have supplied the Piltdown jaw from un-catalogued material held at the museum. Dawson may have sought Barlow’s advice on the preservation and hardening of fossil material. Yet any suggestion of connivance between them amounts to mere speculation, having as its basis the commonly held view that Dawson was incapable of creating the forgery alone.
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 046.jpg|150px|Frank Oswell Barlow. © Natural History Museum (Image: 051924)]]
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 046.jpg|150px|Frank Oswell Barlow. © Natural History Museum (Image: 051924)]]
 
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1990
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1990
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Arthur Keith (1866-1955)
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Arthur Keith (1866-1955)
| style="vertical-align:top;" | At the time of the Piltdown discoveries, Keith was Conservator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. He played a large part in the often heated debate surrounding the interpretation of the Piltdown finds, and he was still alive when the forgery was made public in 1953. In 1990 Frank Spencer accused Keith of being the Piltdown forger in his book ''Piltdown: a Scientific Forgery''. The accusation was later reinforced by Philip Tobias. Yet the evidence against Keith is easily dismissed, being either of an inconsequential nature or based on incomplete information. News of the forgery came as a grave blow to Keith, who wrote a few weeks before his death lamenting that he had been so completely deceived by the ‘honest’ countenance of Dawson, a man for whom he had had the greatest respect.
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | At the time of the Piltdown discoveries, Keith was Conservator of the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. He played a large part in the often heated debate surrounding the interpretation of the Piltdown finds, and he was still alive when the forgery was made public in 1953. In 1990 Frank Spencer accused Keith of being the Piltdown forger in his book Piltdown: a Scientific Forgery. The accusation was later reinforced by Philip Tobias. Yet the evidence against Keith is easily dismissed, being either of an inconsequential nature or based on incomplete information. News of the forgery came as a grave blow to Keith, who wrote a few weeks before his death lamenting that he had been so completely deceived by the ‘honest’ countenance of Dawson, a man for whom he had had the greatest respect.
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 047.jpg|150px|Arthur Keith. © Natural History Museum (Image: 039907)]]
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 047.jpg|150px|Arthur Keith. © Natural History Museum (Image: 039907)]]
 
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1994
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | 1994
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Arthur Smith Woodward (1864-1944)
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | Arthur Smith Woodward (1864-1944)
| style="vertical-align:top;" | In 1994 American physical anthropologist Gerell M Drawhorn put forward the theory that Smith Woodward may have colluded with Dawson on the forgery. Woodward’s motive was to enhance his reputation and improve his chances of being appointed Director of the Natural History Museum. While ambition alone is hardly sufficient to implicate Woodward in the forgery, it might have blinded him to any misgivings he should have entertained over some aspects of the Piltdown evidence - notably, for example, Dawson’s reluctance to identify the precise location of Piltdown II. Yet Woodward continued to dig at Piltdown for many years after his retirement, dictating his last book ''The Earliest Englishman'' shortly before his death.
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| style="vertical-align:top;" | In 1994 American physical anthropologist Gerell M Drawhorn put forward the theory that Smith Woodward may have colluded with Dawson on the forgery. Woodward’s motive was to enhance his reputation and improve his chances of being appointed Director of the Natural History Museum. While ambition alone is hardly sufficient to implicate Woodward in the forgery, it might have blinded him to any misgivings he should have entertained over some aspects of the Piltdown evidence - notably, for example, Dawson’s reluctance to identify the precise location of Piltdown II. Yet Woodward continued to dig at Piltdown for many years after his retirement, dictating his last book The Earliest Englishman shortly before his death.
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 049.png|150px|Arthur Smith Woodward. © BGS/NERC (Image: P537725)]]
 
| style="vertical-align:top;" | [[File:Piltdown 049.png|150px|Arthur Smith Woodward. © BGS/NERC (Image: P537725)]]
 
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