(LIVESCIENCE) -- A criminal trial has begun of an archaeologist accused of forging a trove of Roman artifacts that allegedly show a third-century depiction of Jesus' crucifixion, Egyptian hieroglyphics and the early use of the Basque language.
Archaeologist Eliseo Gil and two former colleagues appeared this week in a criminal court in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the capital of Spain's Basque Country, The Telegraph reported. They are accused of creating forgeries of ancient graffiti on hundreds of pieces of pottery, glass and brick that they claim were found in the Roman ruins at Iruña-Veleia, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) west of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Gil claimed the graffiti on the artifacts showed very early links between the Roman settlement in Spain and the Basque language; he also claimed that a drawing of three crosses scratched on a piece of ancient pottery was the earliest known portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
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