- The Vinland Map, which shows a portion of the coastline of North America southwest of Greenland, is said to have been created in the 15th century.
- This map has been hailed as proving that the Norsemen first arrived in the New World.
- A new analyst finds that the map is a hoax and was made in the 20th century
- The scans first found traces of a titanium compound used in inks produced in the 1920s.
The Vinland map, which shows a stretch of North America’s coastline southwest of Greenland, is famous for having early imagery of the New World, but a new analyst shows it is ‘shrouded in 20th-century ink’ Has happened.’
Researchers at Yale University found that the map is believed to have been made in the 15th century, with the titanium compound being used in ink first produced in the 1920s.
‘The Vinland Map is a Fake’, Raymond Clemens, curator of early books and manuscripts at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, said in a statement Statement.
‘There is no reasonable doubt here. This new analysis should put the matter to rest.
What’s more, the study found that the mapmaker intentionally created a fake.
This 20th-century trickster used modern ink to write instructions for putting the map together as it would appear on an actual 15th-century manuscript, which did so on a Latin inscription.
The team believes the inscription is a bookbinder’s note guiding the assembly of the Speculum Historiale – an authentic medieval volume and possible source of the map’s calf parchment.
The Vinland Map, which shows a stretch of North America’s coastline to the southwest of Greenland, is famous for having early imagery of the New World, but a new analyst suggests it may be ‘in 20th-century ink. submerged’
“The altered inscription certainly seems like an attempt to trick people into believing that the map was made at the same time as the speculum historical,” Clemens said.
‘This is powerful evidence that this is a forgery, and not an innocent creation by a third party that was co-opted by someone else, although it does not tell us who perpetrated the deception.’
Yale received the map in 1965, proudly declaring that it proved that the Norsemen, not Christopher Columbus, were the first Europeans to reach the New World.
However, the map has always been questioned by scholars who have found traces of modern ink in previous studies.
Researchers at Yale University found that the map, believed to have been made in the 15th century, contains a titanium compound (blue) that was first used in ink produced in the 1920s.
An inscription (top) on the back of the map, possibly a bookbinder’s note to collect the medieval volume with which it was originally bound, was overwritten in an apparent attempt to deceive. The image below shows the presence of titanium in the ink, which strongly suggests 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 map is a hoax.
The ‘Vineland Map lacks the detailed ornamentation of other medieval maps, such as the Beinke Library’s collection of Portolan nautical charts. Patched wormholes dot their parchment,’ the researchers shared in a statement.
‘Most of its ink appears to have faded.’
The team used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF), a non-destructive technique, to analyze the ink.
Medieval writers usually wrote with iron gall ink, which is composed of ferrous sulfate, powdered gall nuts and a binder (the first two are the primary ingredients of iron gall ink, and the third is often present as an impurity). .
XRF analysis of the Vinland map showed little or no trace of iron, sulfur or copper. Instead, the scans revealed the presence of titanium throughout the map’s ink.
Yale obtained the map in 1965. In the picture are Yale University curators, Alexander Vieter, in the Beinecke Rare Book Library, and Thomas Marston, examining a 15th-century map of Vineland.
A scan of the Vinland Insula, the part of the North American coastline that made the map famous, revealed high levels of titanium and small amounts of barium, which the team says is the strongest evidence against the map’s authenticity.
This is because the first commercially produced titanium-white pigments in the 1920s contained titanium dioxide and barium sulfate.
However, the researchers had to be sure and did so by analyzing 50 manuscript fragments in the collection of the Beinecke Library that were produced in Central Europe during the 15th century – the same era considered to be the Vinland map.
The results showed that the fragments had much lower levels of titanium than the map and had much higher levels of iron.
The map is said to prove the Norsemen, 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 anatase was not simply unique and naturally occurring, the team performed field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) microscopy (FE-SEM) on samples from the tartar relationship and the altered text of the map. ) performed. .
Richard Hark, a conservation scientist working with the Beneke Library’s collection, said in a statement: ‘The process yielded highly magnified images of the components of its ink, which showed that the anatase particles are similar to those found in pigments. were produced commercially in Norway. 1923. Nothing suggested that anatase was naturally sourced.’
“After determining that the composition of the ink was consistent with an initial form of commercially available titanium white, the team saw evidence that the map was an intentional forgery,” the team wrote in the press release.