It is a new year and I hope you are all pleased and satisfied with the Central States Archaeological Journal for 2004. The many improvements to the journal format that Ellen Worley has brought you in the January, April, and July 2004 issues have been very well received. We are looking forward to what 2005 will bring. Having the opportunity to be a part of the celebration of the 50th year of the publication of the CSAJ has been very rewarding for me. John Crowley, Rodney Peck, Carl Wright and all the rest of the staff at CSAJ have labored extensively and volunteered copious hours of time to bring this journal to you. Hopefully by now you have had the time to read the large variety of articles covering the last 25 years. They have been reprinted as they were originally in the journal that they first appeared in. Some of them needed to be reformatted to reflect the changes that have occurred over the past 25 years. The photographs and their descriptions including artifact provenience were also used as they originally appeared. One of the photographs chosen for the 50th was originally published along with an article about the history of a pipe that at the time was thought to be authentic. Continued study of this artifact resulted in the discovery of the fact that it is a modern reproduction. Here is the letter of explanation that I received
I am writing this to correct a major mistake which was made on page 39 of the October 2004 Central States Journal. The eagle effigy pipe shown and identified as being in my collection is a blatant FAKE and is NOT in my collection.
I began collecting artifacts in 1968 but, until 1982, I only collected what I found and did not buy relics that I hadn't found personally. Eventually I realized that if I ever wanted to own a collection of any significance I would have to buy artifacts that others had found. The fake eagle effigy pipe was in one of the first collections I bought in 1983. At the time I had no knowledge of fakes and thought along with several of my friends, that the pipe was authentic. Unfortunately I was wrong, as was pointed out to me by those who were knowledgeable. I was told exactly why the pipe was fake and thus began a learning experience that has continued over the past 20 years. The eagle effigy pipe shown was donated to the G.I.R.S. to be shown on a table displaying fakes of all types of relics at G.I.R.S. shows. Hopefully it is still in possession of the G.I.R.S. (Society for the Documentation of Prehistoric Artifacts) and will never again be sold to an unsuspecting collector.
I am reprinting the letter and discussing this with you for two very good reasons. One being that Mike wanted to clear the air on this artifact (I have recently learned that the pipe has been destroyed). I would like to thank and commend Mike for his perseverance on this artifact. The other is a great opportunity to stress the importance of having your artifacts documented in CSAJ, your journal. Documenting your artifacts and correcting the information if necessary is the best way to preserve history and authenticity of your artifacts. The main point here is making certain that the artifacts you collect are authentic. Just because they have appeared in a publication or have a paper from an authenticator doesn't mean that you shouldn't continue to study and learn more about them. Study why or why not they are real. Many factors are involved in determining if an artifact is a true piece of the past, a high quality reproduction, or a poor copy. Scientific evidence is the number one factor. Educate yourself about this.
I would like to take this moment to thank all of those involved who have given me the opportunity to volunteer my time to serve with this great organization, it has been truly rewarding and I hope that you consider doing your part for CSAS
and your state society.