Skip to comments.Study Says Medieval New World Map Is Real
Posted on 11/25/2003 6:25:37 PM PST by Pharmboy
This is a copy of the 'Vinland Map' as seen at
Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in this Feb. 13, 1996 file
photo. Experts dispute its authenticity. Two new studies
add fresh fuel to a decades-old debate about whether the parchment
map of the Vikings' travels to the New World, purportedly drawn by
a 15th century scribe, is authentic or a clever 20th century forgery.
Both studies were published independently in scholarly journals,
the researchers announced Monday, Nov. 24, 2003.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The latest scientific analysis of a disputed map of the medieval New World supports the theory that it was made 50 years before Christopher Columbus set sail.
The study examined the ink used to draw the Vinland Map, which belongs to Yale University. The map is valued at $20 million if it is real and not a clever, modern-day forgery.
A study last summer said the ink on the parchment map was made in the 20th century.
But chemist Jacqueline Olin, a retired researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said Tuesday her analysis shows the ink was made in medieval times.
"There is no evidence this is a forged titanium dioxide ink," said Olin, whose paper appears in the December issue of the journal Analytical Chemistry.
The authenticity of the map has been debated since the 1960s, when philanthropist Paul Mellon gave it to Yale. The university has not taken a position on its authenticity.
The map depicts the world, including the north Atlantic coast of North America. It includes text in medieval Latin and a legend that describes how "Leif Eiriksson," a Norseman, found the new land called Vinland around the year 1000.
Scholars have dated the map to around 1440. Some scholars have speculated that Columbus could have used the map to find the New World in 1492.
Last summer, Olin and other researchers announced that carbon-14 dating of the parchment showed it was made around 1434 exactly the right time for the map to be genuine.
However, researchers from University College in London examined the ink on the map and announced last summer that it cannot be more than 500 years old.
Tests in the 1970s by Walter McCrone who also had disputed the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin found the ink contained anatase, a form of titanium dioxide that is common in inks made after 1920. Anatase is found in nature, but the crystals of anatase were too regular-shaped to have been natural, McCrone said.
Olin's study looked at various minerals found in the ink, including aluminum, copper and zinc. All these minerals, she said, would have been byproducts of the medieval ink manufacturing process.
Also, she said anatase also could have ended up in the ink because of the manufacturing process, and its crystal size and shape could have changed over time.
Research is continuing into the Latin writing on the map.
Some scholars are stupid. Its a giant blob with a smaller blob next to it. It wouldn't have done a thing for him.
If Columbus did use the map, he should get his money back. Despite three trips to the New World, Columbus only made it to islands in the Carribean and Gulf of Mexico. He never touched on North or South America.
Several years ago I attended a dinner at Yale where I sat next to an official from the Yale Library. I asked him about the Vinland map. He said that he had participated in tests on the map using a proton beam and based on those tests the map appeared to be genuine.
"Some evidence, not yet confirmed by archaeological analysis, suggests that the shipwreck at Playa Damas is that of La Vizcaina, a ship abandoned in 1503 by Christopher Columbus on his fourth and final voyage."
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