Showing part of the coastline of North America southwest of Greenland, the Vinland map is known as the early New World images, but a new analysis reveals it’s “overrun with 20th-century ink.”
Yale University researchers found that the card believed to have been created in the 15th century contains a titanium compound used in inks first produced in the 1920s.
“The Vinland map is a forgery,” said Raymond Clemens, curator of early books and manuscripts at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, which houses the map. pronunciation.
“There is no reasonable doubt here. This new analysis should put the matter to rest.’
In fact, the study found that the mapmaker deliberately created a counterfeit.
The 20th-century trickster used modern ink to write out instructions for assembling the map as it would appear on an actual 15th-century manuscript, over a Latin inscription.
The team believe the inscription is a bookbinder’s note accompanying the montage of the Speculum Historiale – an authentic medieval volume and the likely source of the map’s calf parchment.
Showing part of the coastline of North America southwest of Greenland, the Vinland map is known as the early New World imagery, but a new analysis reveals it’s ‘overrun with 20th-century ink’
“The altered inscription certainly appears to be an attempt to trick people into believing that the map was made at the same time as the Speculum Historiale,” Clemens said.
“It’s strong evidence that this is a forgery, not an innocent third party creation co-opted by someone else, although it doesn’t tell us who committed the fraud.”
Yale obtained the map in 1965 and proudly announced that it proves that the Normans, not Christopher Columbus, were the first Europeans to reach the New World.
However, the map has always been questioned by scientists who have found traces of modern ink in previous studies.
Yale University researchers found that the map believed to have been created in the 15th century contains a titanium compound (blue) used in ink first produced in the 1920s.
An inscription on the back of the card (above), possibly a bookbinder’s note for assembling the medieval part with which it was originally bound, was overwritten in an apparent attempt at deception. The lower image shows the presence of titanium in the ink, strongly suggesting it is of modern origin, while the previous three false-color images highlight elements consistent with medieval iron gall ink
And the latest analysis provides the clearest evidence yet that the card is a fraud.
‘The Vinland map lacks the elaborate embellishments of other medieval maps, such as the Beinecke Library’s collection of portolan nautical charts. There are patched wormholes on the parchment,” the researchers wrote in a statement.
“Much of the ink seems to have faded.”
The team used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), a non-destructive technique, to analyze the ink.
Medieval scribes usually wrote with ferric bile ink, which is composed of ferrous sulfate, powdered gall nuts, and a binder (the first two are primary elemental ingredients of ferric bile ink, and the third is often present as an impurity).
The XRF analysis of the Vinland map showed little to no iron, sulfur or copper. Instead, the scan revealed the presence of titanium through the card’s ink.
Yale obtained the map in 1965. The photo shows Yale University curator Alexander Vietor, at the Beinecke Rare Book Library, and Thomas Marston, examining the 15th-century map of Vinland
A scan of Vinlanda Insula, the part of the North American coastline that made the map famous, revealed high levels of titanium and smaller amounts of barium, which the team says is the strongest evidence against the map’s authenticity.
This is because the earliest commercially produced titanium white pigments in the 1920s contained titanium dioxide and barium sulfate.
However, researchers had to be sure and did this by analyzing 50 manuscript fragments in the Beinecke Library’s collection that were produced in Central Europe in the 15th century — the same era in which the Vinland map was supposedly drawn.
The results showed that the fragments contained much lower levels of titanium than the map and much higher levels of iron.
The map would prove that the Normans, not Christopher Columbus, were the first Europeans to reach the New World
To confirm that the map’s ink was of modern origin and that the anatase was not just unique and naturally occurring, the team performed field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) on samples of the modified Tartar Relation text and map.
Richard Hark, a conservation scientist who works with the Beinecke Library collections, said in a statement: “This process produced highly magnified images of the ink components, showing that the anatase particles closely resemble those in pigment commercially produced in Norway in 1923. There was no indication that the anatase was of natural origin.’
“After determining that the composition of the ink matched an early form of commercially available titanium white, the team discovered evidence that the card is a deliberate forgery,” the team wrote in the press release.