It's been a long time since I read the articles in Scientific American on Damascus steel, so take what I write here with a grain of salt. It is best that you search out the article and read it for yourself to form your own conclusions.
As I recall, there were two articles in SciAm, perhaps separated by decades, on the subject. The more recent one is fairly convincing, since they used sophisticated techniques of analysis to compare results of modern attempts to reproduce Damascus steel with known originals.
Since I am about to reveal my recollection of the conclusion of the article, consider this a SPOILER ALERT..
OK. Their conclusion was that the secret of Damascus steel, which was "lost" to history, was not so much in the technique of fabrication of a Damascus blade, as it was something inherent in the iron ore that was used. There were trace impuries of other elements in the iron ore used in making Damascus steel that lent to the metal its exceptional qualities. The authors believe the source of this special iron ore traces to mines in certain regions of India. The reason the ability of making Damascus was lost was because disruptions in trade routes between the Middle East and India cut off the supply of the ore that was essential to make Damascus steel. (Either that or the mines that produced this special ore were exhausted.)
All this is not to say one way or the other whether the lovely knives on display in this DA thread do in fact qualify as being "Damascus steel". The opinions I express are not my own, but rather, hazy recollections of the article published in Scientific American. I am merely trying to provide some information as to whether or not the secret of making "Damascus steel" has been lost forever.