Authentication using the
Infrared Laser Raman Spectrograph

A fake is a point that has been represented as ancient to defraud a buyer; and, many
criminals go to extreme lengths to make their modern points look old. Many of
these points have been papered by authenticators using the “in my opinion” method,
and have gained credibility and acceptance as they move from one collection to
another. Fakes can be found at every level of collecting. Some sell at flea markets for
three dollars, and some have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. Millions of
modern points are made each year in the US, and an unacceptable number are
passed off as authentic relics. This flood of bogus material has reduced the value of
authentic pieces and skewed the archaeological record.
The infrared laser Raman spectrograph is the most powerful tool yet invented for
combating this epidemic of fraud. Although the Raman Spectrum was first identified
by Dr. Raman in 1920’s, useful exploitation of the spectrum’s properties had to wait
for the technical advances of the late 20th century. Simultaneous leaps in computer
and laser technology have allowed scientists to make mind-boggling advances in
non-destructive analytical testing of material. The IR laser Raman spectrograph is
one of these.
The system used by Breckinridge Artifact Services was invented by David Walley. It
combines a Raman Spectrograph and an intense, focused pulse of Infrared light to
probe and analyze the true composition and age of a target. This atomic level is
beyond the manipulation of today’s forgers and “artifakers”. For this reason alone
Mr. Walley’s incredible patented device is the most important  ever invented for
authenticators, auction houses, and collectors . It has the potential to stop the flow
of cash from honest collectors that sustains the modern fakers. But there is another
equally important function of IR Laser Spectroscopy. It can be used to date stone
artifacts, whether they were found in an archaeological context or a shoebox. It
works equally well on points, tools, and waste flakes. It works on all stone, including
slate, limestone, obsidian, flint, quartzite, basalt, and hardstone. It is equally
accurate on river and stream finds, excavated site points, or surface finds from
eroded hilltops.  This ability to date stone artifacts quickly and accurately will
revolutionize our understanding of lithic traditions.
The laser scan data is displayed in a graph, which can be compared to others stored
in the computer memory. Comparing the current scan to reference scans allows the
operator to draw conclusions regarding the age and authenticity of the artifact. The
system can clearly see the difference between modern points and ancient relics.
In light of the opportunity to participate in the introduction of this revolutionary
advance in technology, I will no longer offer “ in my opinion” papers.  All relics
which receive my new “Breckinridge Artifact Services” COAs will be laser scanned.
Scans will be printed on each COA, and a comparative analysis graph will be printed
on the back. All pieces which pass this inspection will be examined microscopically
and under long and shortwave UV light. My basic text format will remain the same;
however, my COAs will no longer feature the words “in my opinion.”  All this
technology costs money, and my costs have gone up dramatically. This added
overhead mandates a charge of $75 for each COA. In addition, there will be a charge
of $50 for each modern piece examined. Due to the volume of work arrangements
must be made in advance. Results are confidential.
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About Bill and Tamara
Burlington Chert is a very easy
material to authenticate. Here's
an overlay graph contrasting an
authentic Graham Cave with no
papers that I bought from a pile
of loose bargain points with a
Perino papered Agate Basin I
paid a couple of hundred  
dollars for. The seller, a well
known collector, wrote a
different opinion of type on the
back and initialed the change.   
"In my opinion" papers are
totally inadequate protection
for your collection and
Good 9,000+ year
old point
Authentic Hematite celt
Modern Reproduction
The laser scan takes the
guesswork out of
determining the
authenticity of ground
stone artifacts. Granite,
porphyry, basalt, slate,
limestone, sandstone,
and even hematite with
its high iron content can
be quickly and reliably
authenticated. The laser
will tell you not just if a
piece is pre-historic or
not, but also the
archaeological time
period when the piece
was made.
Authentic Obsidian
Hell Gap
The reproduction Hell Gap at the
bottom of the graph bears Greg
Perino's identification tag, and was
purchased at the auction of his
collection. I've wasted many
hundreds of dollars on fakes with
good papers and impressive
provenance. I have yet to see a
collection of "bought" points that
was free of reproductions.
Some people have interpreted
my use of Perino papered
points as disrespectful.
Nothing could be further from
the truth. Perino was the best,
and his work is an example to
us all. Read my review of his
books in the book review
section, or take this
Perino Book