Department Chair

Andrew D. Nicholls, Ph.D.

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Museum Studies, M.A.


History and Social Studies Education Department


Noelle J. Wiedemer

Department Home page

First Reader

Cynthia Conides

Second Reader

Noelle J. Wiedemer

Third Reader



In response to the subjective nature of older forgery detection techniques, modern forgery detection methods rely heavily on chemical analysis of the materials utilized in a given piece of work in order to make authenticity determinations. Chemical methods of detection at their core provide an objective determination of facts regarding the composition of materials utilized in contested pieces and provide a relative date of production for those materials. In this way, chemical analysis helps service the field of modern forgery detection as a direct compliment to traditional stylistic analysis, by providing extra data on the piece that can often be much harder to refute.

In this paper, the author will provide an overview of the modern techniques being applied to forgery detection based heavily in the field of chemistry. Additionally, the author will present case studies in which the methods discussed have been applied to success in determination of authenticity, or have been proven effective for future use in authenticity determination. Finally, the author will touch on the direction in which the field of forgery detection is heading into the future.