The Michigan relics were a series of supposedly ancient artifacts that appeared to prove that people of an ancient Near Eastern culture had lived in the American state of Michigan. However, they were actually archaeological forgeries.

In 1890, James Scotford of Edmore, Michigan [1], claimed that he had found a number of artifacts, including a clay cup with strange symbols and carved tablets, with symbols that looked vaguely hieroglyphic. He put them forward as evidence that people from the Near East or Europe had lived in America. The find attracted interest and also eager looters who arrived to look for more artifacts.

Scotford joined forces with Daniel E. Soper, former Michigan Secretary of State, and together they presented thousands of objects made of various materials, supposedly found in 16 counties all over Michigan. They included coins, pipes, boxes, figurines and cuneiform tablets that depicted various biblical scenes, including Moses handing out the tablets of the Ten Commandments. On November 14, 1907, the Detroit News reported that Soper and Scotford were selling copper crowns they had supposedly found on heads of prehistoric kings, and copies of Noah's diary. Scotford often arranged a local person to witness him "unearthing" the objects.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints kept 797 of the objects in the Salt Lake City Museum. In 2003, they gave them up to the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing where they currently reside.

More information on the Wikipedia page [2].

A website on the items is here [3]

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