Tools Leave Marks: Material Analysis of the Scotford-Soper-Savage Michigan Relics

From the 1890s to the 1920s, hundreds of objects were “discovered” in Michigan and are known as Michigan Relics or the Scotford-Soper-Savage collection. I have personally examined more than 1,000 items from four different collections. These items reveal themselves to be of modern creation. The evidence is that the locations of discovery do not support ancient origins, the copper items are made from modern commercial smelted copper that has been hot rolled, several of the slate pieces are made from blanks that have been cut and polished with modern saws and files, some of the clay specimens dissolve in water, and more. Examination shows that James Scotford created this fraud and Daniel Soper appears to have joined the hoax at some point. 

For a history of the Michigan Relics, see this companion article in this same issue of BYU Studies: Mormonism’s Encounter with the Michigan Relics, by Mark Ashurst-McGee

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