Mansoor Amarna Collection

William J. Young Report

From the Boston Museum of Fine Art

We reproduce here, in its entirety, the "scientific" report of Mr. William J. Young of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. This report has been thoroughly criticized by every scientist who has seen it, yet many non-scientists in the Egyptological community inexplicably continue to defend it.

We are confident that even the non-scientist will be able to see through this report. Mr. Young has simply listed a set of preconceived conclusions without providing any supporting evidence. Nowhere does he explain how he reaches his conclusions.

We are certain that the scientists among you will be instantly astonished by the utter lack of merit displayed by this report--its conclusory lack of analysis will be immediately apparent.



William J. Young

Nine limestone objects were submitted to the Laboratory for examination by Mr. William Mansoor, for the purpose of proving their authenticity. Permission was given that were it necessary to assist directly in the examinations, small samples could b e taken.


The nine limestone pieces were first examined under Ultra-violet rays using a Corex A filter. The result of this examination is as follows:

No. 144 D. Low limestone relief. The limestone showed a continuous light purple fluorescence on all surfaces, including the fracture, which would indicate that no alteration of the crystalline build-up of the stone had taken place from ex posure to the elements.

No. 321. Pink limestone low relief. The limestone showed a light purple fluorescence throughout, including the fractures. A grey fluorescence appeared in the necklace, part of the neck, ears and outline of the back of the neck, which would indi cate a false deposit. No indication of any great age was observed.

No. 249. Pink limestone statuette, approximately 15 5/8 inches high, fractured at the calves of the legs. The object fluoresced a light purplish fluorescence, with no indication of weathering or surface alteration. The fracture, when viewed in cross section under the rays, showed no sign of penetration caused by any alteration of the surface by weathering. The same reaction was found in the feet and the base.

No number. An elongated head in yellowish limestone, was found to fluoresce a light purple with no indication of weathering or surface alteration of the crystalline build-up of the stone.

No.233. Pink limestone head, approximately 6 inches high, broken at the neck, eyes and eyebrows recessed for inlay. A bright purplish fluorescence was observed. In many of the interstices and around the nose, eyes and eyebrows, and parts of the forehead, a whitish purple fluorescence was observed, which would indicate that a deposit had been applied, which contained a medium.

No. 124. Yellow limestone statuette, 18 3/4 inches high. This was found to have a light purplish fluorescence throughout, with no characteristic fluorescence indicating any great age.

No Number. A small elongated head, broken in half, of pink limestone. A very light purplish fluorescence was observed under the ray, the fracture indicating a bluish-white fluorescence from a deposit which has the appearance of being a fals e patina. This head has evidently been fractured along a cleavage, as many dendrites are present, embedded in the surface of the fracture.

No. 123. Large yellow limestone head. The head was found to fluoresce a light purple, except in fractures on the nose, where a peculiar yellowish-white fluorescence appears. This is a general indication that a false condition exists. Some yellowish-white staining above and around the right ear was observed. No penetration was observed in the cross section of the fracture, indicating that the piece lacked any alteration of the surface caused by weathering.

No. 157. Limestone head. A light purplish fluorescence was found throughout, with no indication of age or penetration in the cross section of the fracture


The pieces in question were then examined under a binocular microscope using a power of 40x.

No. 124. Yellow limestone statuette. Under this magnification, the surface has a very rough regular pattern, with many dendrites being present. These dendritic formations are formed, not on the surface of the object, but are embedded into the s urface of the stone. When many of these dendritic structures were sliced to a depth of 1 millimeter, the dendritic formation was found to be in its original pattern. The legs and feet of this object appeared to be split along the cleavage. It has all the appearance of a false condition.

No. 157. Limestone head. The surface of the limestone head has a very regular rough patterned surface. Many of the cuttings contain fine whitish silt. The surfaces have considerable round eroded edges, which should indicate that the piece in question had been exposed to weathering. When viewed under this magnification, the weathering has all the indication of being an artificial one, which in places has been filled with a fine silt.

No number. Yellow elongated limestone head. The surface, when viewed under the same power, has the same regular patterned surface as the ones examined above, with evidence of dendritic structures being present, which are embedded into the surface.

No. 321. Pink limestone low relief. This surface when viewed microscopically has the same regular patterned surface, which does not appear to be caused from natural burial, with a fine white silt embedded in some of the cuttings and interstice s.

No. 249. Pink limestone statuette. The surface has the same peculiar regular patterned surface, with many vertical and swirling scratches.

No. 123. Large yellow limestone head. When this limestone head was viewed microscopically, it was clearly seen that the surface had the same peculiar pitted regular pattern, that vertical cracks running the length of the head and lower p art of the crown contained dendritic formation originating in the cleavages. A sample of the deposit from the cleavages was taken , embedded in a carbon arc, and analyzed spectrographically along with a sample of the limestone. The analysis proved the dep osit to be Manganese Oxide, which would indicate this formation, and the dendritic structure present, to be natural ones. The nose has a damage which has all the appearance of being artificially weathered.

No. 233. Pink limestone head. When this limestone head was examined in a like manner, the surface appeared to have the same pebbly regular patterned appearance. The head has a crack which does not appear to be a natural cleavage and which is filled with a white deposit. Small dendritic structures are in evidence, which are embedded in the surface of the pink limestone.

No number. Pink elongated head. The pink limestone head was examined microscopically. The surface condition was found to be the same as the previous ones, with a dendritic structure along its fracture.

No. 144 D. Pink limestone low relief . The relief has a regular patterned surface throughout, with a similar structure to the ones previously examined.

The microscopic examinations of the surfaces would indicate, if natural, that the objects would have been exposed to considerable weathering to have obtained the surfaces that are in evidence. Microscopically, these surfaces do not have the character istics that are observed in natural weathering. Dendrites are caused from surface waters carrying Manganese Oxide, which crystallize out into characteristic dendritic formation. When samples of the dendrites and of the material in the cleavages were anal yzed, they were found to be Manganese Oxide, which along with a microscopic examination of the structure of the dendrites, indicates they are natural formations caused by surface waters. It has clearly been established that when dendrites are formed on th e surface, and when these dendrites are of the right composition and formation, it does show some indication of considerable age. When dendrites are formed in the surface and cleavages, it does not have any significant bearing as to the authenticity of an object, as this condition can be formed in situ, before the stone is quarried. The microscopic examination of the heads proved that the dendrites were embedded in the surface, therefore would not hold any bearing as to their authenticity.


Samples of some of the objects were taken, which included a part of the actual surface, for petrographic study. These samples were mounted and ground down to a thickness of .03 mm., in order that light might be transmitted through the samples. When t hese surfaces were examined microscopically under a magnification from 300 to 600x, no evidence of weathering or surface alteration was observed in these cross sections. When the dendritic structures were sectioned in a like manner, it was clearly seen th at they were embedded in the surface.The limestone being of an uncommon variety, samples were taken, sections made and studied, which proved that the stones in question are natural formations and that they are filled with foraminifera.

The occasion presented itself where it was possible to closely examine, for comparative reasons, other objects from Tell el-Amarna, including the material of the British Museum and the Fresco painting of Akhnaten's daughters at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.


The above microscopic examination proved that if these surfaces were natural, they would have been exposed to considerable weathering.The Ultra-violet examination proved this weathering to be lacking in the characteristics that are found in ancient pi eces, and that no evidence of age was discernible. The microscopic examination proved the weathering of the surfaces to be a forced one, lacking in structure that is characteristically found in ancient pieces. A petrographic examination of the cross secti ons definitely established that the objects in question could not have been exposed to natural weathering. The fact that the dendrites are embedded in the surface indicates that the dendritic structure could have taken place before the stone was quarried, therefore it has no bearing on the authenticity of the pieces. The above examinations, in my opinion, clearly indicate that the pieces in question are of fairly modern origin.

Respectfully submitted,

W. J. Young

April 14,1949

25 May 1995