Archiver > CA-HISTORY > 2003-02 > 1045606591

From: carolyn <>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 14:16:31 -0800

Historical journal reports secrets behind infamous "Drake's
Plate" hoax
Who made Drake's "plate of brasse"?
By Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations |
18 February 2003

BERKELEY – Researchers who spent a
decade digging into one of California's most infamous hoaxes now say
they know who did it and have a pretty good idea why.

At a press conference today (Tuesday, Feb. 18) at the University of
California, Berkeley, the researchers revealed what may be the final
chapter in the story of a brass marker dubbed "Drake's Plate." The
plate was discovered in 1936 and purportedly recorded the
California coastal landing in 1579 of English explorer Francis Drake
and his ship, The Golden Hind.

It passed muster at the time of its discovery and was proudly
acquired by the campus's Bancroft Library. However, scientific
testing 40 years later determined it to be a fake.

Among the newest findings was that the
hoax: Was created by a group of
respected Bay Area men active in history and the art world

Was an elaborate joke that got terribly out of hand

Was successful despite indirect warnings that the plate was a fake

Researchers Edward Von der Porten, a nautical historian,
archaeologist and retired maritime museum director; Raymond Aker,
a maritime researcher who died earlier this year; Robert W. Allen, a
historical researcher and educator; and James M. Spitze, an amateur
historian, have published these findings and more in the latest issue
California History, a California Historical Society publication.

Their conclusions may surprise many
Golden State history buffs who accepted the long-circulating story that
the playful E Clampus Vitus historical fraternity, also known as the
Clampers, was responsible for the prank. The group has bristled at the
accusation. While acknowledging they lack a "smoking gun," lead author
Von der Porten and his fellow researchers cite a wide range of sources
that they say point the finger at a band of well-established and
respected gentlemen of the day - only one of whom was known to have
been a Clamper.

The cast includes:!

now if you want to know more ,

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