The Sinaia Lead Plates, Famous Fakes and Frauds
The Sinaia lead plates are a set of lead plates written in
an unknown language or constructed language and are alleged
to be a chronicle of the Dacians, but they are widely
considered by historians and linguists to be a 19th century
The plates were written in the Greek alphabet, the
connection with the Dacian civilization being quite obvious
from the names of Dacian kings and placenames.
The origin of the Sinaia lead plates is obscure. The first
known mention of them was when the 200 lead plates were
discovered in the warehouse of the Bucharest Museum of
Antiquities in the 19th century. They were widely ignored
and considered fake because they looked new, as they showed
no traces of corrosion. However, renewed interest in the
plates has been shown more than a century later, following
the publication of a report about them by Dan Romalo in
2003. Of the 200 pieces in the collection of plates, only 35
are known to remain today.
There is a legend that the lead plates are in fact copies
made at the Nail Factory of Sinaia in 1875 from the
originals, which were made of gold. Allegedly, the gold was
used either in the building of Peleş Castle, or the plates
were part of the Romanian Treasure which was never returned
by Russia after World War I.
An analysis made at the Institute of Nuclear Physics,
confirmed that the composition of the plates is very similar
to lead manufactured in the 19th century.
Another argument in favour of the hypothesis that the plates
are fake is that the plates use the Greek name of a town,
Comidava, as used by Ptolemy, the author not knowing that
the actual name of the town was Cumidava, the true name
being discovered only recently in 1942.
Most of the plates are roughly rectangular, with the
exception of one round plate. They have dimensions between
93mm x 98mm and 354mm x 255mm. Most are written in the Greek
alphabet, with a few additional signs; the text includes 'V'
from the Latin alphabet and signs for palatal 'c' and 'g'
resembling those of the Cyrillic alphabet. They also include
text written in some unknown scripts that do not resemble
any known written alphabet. In addition to the text, the
plates also contain many complex illustrations, including
those of armies, kings, cities, temples and buildings.
The language appears to have some Indo-European
languages|Indo-European traits, but it has nothing in common
with what linguists expect to be Dacian language, as no
correlation with the Romanian language substrate can be
found. Also, unlike any known Indo-European language, it
appears to have almost no inflections, nor declinations. In
addition, almost all nouns end in '-o', including names
which had other endings in Latin and Greek, e.g. ''Boerobiseto'',
''Dacibalo'', ''Napoko'' and ''Sarmigetuzo''. There are some
words borrowed from Greek and Latin, but some important
words such as the word for 'king' (''mato'') and 'priest'
(''kotopolo'') do not have any known Indo-European cognates.
Debate and authors
There is a debate among historians whether the plates are
real or fake.
Arguments for being fake:
The language from the tablets does not look like the
expected Dacian language *The writing does not respect the writing norms of the Greek
alphabet (however they were written in Dacian, not in
*The language has many similar words with Romanian, but very
few from the Dacian substratum.*Some symbols from the tablets show close resemblance to
those used in francmasonic secret societies (thus pointing
to a politically made fake).
*Most of the lead tablets seem to have been made in the XIX
*The plates contain glyphs and some writing styles extremely
similar to Arabic.
*The language from the tablets has some words which we know
originated in Slavic languages.
*The tablets contain some personal names (Mary, Joseph)
which we know entered later in the Romanian-Dacian language,
during Christianisation (although some linguists like Adrian
Bucurescu claim the tablets contain the history of the
Carpato-Danubian space, up to the middle ages).
*At least one tablet contains a scene of battle represented
in typical medieval style, in which an army seems to
obviously use cannons in besieging a fortress over the
Danube, and one flag from that scene is similar to that used
in Moldava during the time of Ştefan cel Mare.
Arguments for being original:
*The city of Sarmizegetusa is represented with pinpoint
accuracy, even with details unknown at the time at which the
plates were presumably forged.
*The plates contain much information about Dacian history,
information that does not appear in any other sources -
names of yet unknown kings, queens, cities, gods, etc. If
someone would have wanted to make a fake, it would make it
as plausible as possible.
*There was found an original medallion found with Burebista,
which is inscribed in a similar language to that of the
tablets. The medallion is from the Dacian period.
*There exists a letter in which it is clearly mentioned that
the plates were lead copies of the original gold ones.
*Napoleon Săvescu, a Romanian historian known for his strong
interest in Dacian history, managed to find similar tablets
(golden ones) originating from Bulgaria.
*In the XIX century, the common view was that the Dacian
alphabet was the old Hungarian one, view sustained by both
Romanian historians of the time, Bogdan Petriceicu-Hasdeu
and Nicolae Densuşianu, both with interest in ancient Dacian
history. However, the alphabet of the tablets is Greek.
Fragments (translated and adapted into English)
'Zamolxes has given to Scadiun a forest located on a land
near the country of the Scythians, said Geniuklo, head of
the lowland churches.'
'Decebal in front of the Dacian army, presumably said: many
will be those who will die at Sarmizegetusa at the hands of
the cursed Roman army.'
'Decebal got married with Roziana, the great judge of the
Dacians, because the land of the Dacians was overwhelmed by
the evil enemies. She bowed before the god Zavelio. Diegis
and Vezina brought to the dacian king at Sargetia, captured
'Fakso said to Mary: be wise! Joseph turned to his
parents-in-law who looked at his son Musat, and said :you
may be the ruler of the country!'
'At his return, Decebal said to his friends, commanders over
the Dacian soldiers: I`m afraid that the city of
Sarmizegetusa will fall because of the evil ones. But the
god Zavelio knows who are those.'
'King Decebal returned carrying brutish Roman soldiers
captured. To these two were given salt and bread, according
to our customs. But before that, they went into the
knowledge of Zamolxe, Aksine and Mary. God Zavelio stopped
the evil forces two day journey from Sarmizegetusa. Then the
great king Decebal attacked, together with the great priest
*Petan, Aurora, A
possible Dacian royal archive on lead plates], ''Antiquity
Journal'', Vol 79 No 303, March 2005
*Manolache, Dumitru http://www.gardianul.ro/index.php?a=dezvaluiri2005053101.xml
Enigma tăbliţelor dacice], Gardianul, 31 May 2005
Linguist Sorin Olteanu's verdict on the tablets (in