Skip to comments.Study: New World Map Is a Forgery
Posted on 07/29/2002 4:41:39 PM PDT by Pharmboy
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - Yale University's parchment map of the Vikings' travels to the New World, purportedly drawn by a 15th century scribe, is a clever 20th century forgery, according to a new study.
The Vinland Map
The study is the latest development in a debate that began in the 1960s when the map was given to the university by benefactor Paul Mellon.
Scholars who believe it is real have said it predates Christopher Columbus and proves he was not the first European to reach America.
But researchers at University College in London who analyzed the ink have concluded the map was produced after 1923.
"The results demonstrate the great importance of modern analytical techniques in the study of items in our cultural heritage," said Robin J.H. Clark, a University College professor who did the analysis.
Another map expert, however, said Clark's study does not prove the map is a fake.
"Nothing so far has changed my opinion that the map is consistent with other documents of the same age we had analyzed," said Thomas Cahill, a professor of atmospheric science and physics at the University of California at Davis.
The research by Clark and a colleague, Katherine Brown, is published in the July 31 issue of Analytical Chemistry, the journal of the American Chemical Society.
The map depicts the world, and includes the north Atlantic coast of North America. It includes text written in medieval Latin and a legend that describes how Leif Eiriksson, a Norseman, found the new land around the year 1000.
Other experts have dated the map to around 1440 50 years before Columbus sailed to the New World.
The map was sold by a dealer in rare Spanish books to a Connecticut dealer in the 1950s, who then sold it to Mellon. The original dealer never revealed his source. Now valued at more than $20 million, the map is housed at Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
Yale has not taken a position on whether the map is authentic, said the university's head librarian, Alice Prochaska.
"I think probably research will reveal one day what the truth is, but it is certainly very much under discussion and debate," Prochaska said Monday.
In the 1970s, Yale hired the late Chicago chemist Walter McCrone Jr. to do a microscopic analysis of the map. He focused on the map's ink a black layer that is flaking off over a yellowish layer that adheres firmly to the parchment.
McCrone found round, uniform crystals of anatase in ink. Anatase, a form of titanium dioxide, has been used to produce inks since the 1920s.
Anatase is found in nature, but in small amounts that would be found in jagged, irregular crystals if a medieval scribe had used it to make the Vinland Map's inks, he said. Based on this conclusion, McCrone pronounced the map a fake.
In a 1995 book, however, Cahill and a colleague debunked McCrone's conclusions.
Among other conclusions, they found that most of the crystals McCrone found were not anatase, and that a third of the ink contained no titanium.
Clark's study, using a Raman microscope, found that anatase was detected solely in the yellowish ink lines, and not elsewhere on the parchment. The Raman microscope uses a laser beam that scatters off molecules as radiation with different colors.
Yellow lines are sometimes left behind when medieval ink, made of iron gallotannate, degrades. Clark said a forger would know about the yellow residue and would try to reproduce it.
But, the black ink on top of the yellow ink was found to be carbon-based, not iron gallotannate, so no yellow residue should be present, Clark said.
There's been intermittant contact between the old and new world for at least 4000 years. With the ocean currents and trade winds being the way they are, it's inevitable.
Five hundred years before our Lord;
a Phoenecian dude had graced our shores...........
Apparently the Egyptians made their way here well before the Vikes.
The oldest human remains undisputedly found in North America are just under 20000 years old, 19500 +/- 300 years old. These are found in three places I know of, all on the Eastern coast, and all show that the persons involved came from Europe, probably Iberia or maybe France, and had the Solutrean culture complex, and were thus of Caucasian race if the Solutreans were-- and I have never heard that disputed.
It is not as though either Viking or human history generally, is affected by the final verdict on this map. I do not believe that a chemical analysis of ink traces can resolve this, and the other factors outweigh that and suggest its genuineness IMHO.
But even if a fake, we know that others from the 1000-1400 era were in existence in Europe which were like it and were genuine. So big deal, all in all.
Now you have. Those (Cactus Hill, Topper and another) are indeed old sites and are possibly in the 20k year old range and they do have Solutrean technolgy but, there are no human remains. The oldest dated skeleton ever found in the Americas is named Luzia, an African looking woman who died at age 24, 11,500 years ago in Brazil. (There has recently been a skeleton, Kennewick Man like, found off the coast of California, on an island, that is expected to surpass the 11,500 year old Luzia skeleton)
If ya don't want him, hand him to us.
Luzia (11,500 years old)
Public release date: 29-Jul-2002
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Contact: Elizabeth Tait
Scientists determine age of first New World map
Parchment points to authenticity of Vinland Map
For the first time, scientists have ascribed a date 1434 A.D., plus or minus 11 years to the parchment of the controversial Vinland Map, possibly the first map of the North American continent. Collaborators from the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRE), Suitland, Md., the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, N.Y., used carbon-dating techniques to analyze the parchment on which the map is drawn. Their findings, published in the August edition of the journal Radiocarbon, place the parchment of the map 60 years ahead of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the West Indies, and provide compelling evidence that the map is authentic.
"Many scholars have agreed that if the Vinland Map is authentic, it is the first cartographic representation of North America, and its date would be key in establishing the history of European knowledge of the lands bordering the western Atlantic Ocean," said Jacqueline S. Olin, assistant director for archaeometric research at SCMRE when the study began in 1995. Olin and co-authors Douglas Donahue, a physicist at the University of Arizona and Garman Harbottle, a chemist at Brookhaven National Laboratory, along with SCMRE paper conservator Dianne Van Der Reyden, sampled the bottom right edge of the parchment for analysis. The dating was carried out at the National Science Foundation-University of Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometer in Tucson. The unusually high precision of the date was possible because the Vinland Map's date fell in a very favorable region of the carbon-14 dating calibration curve.
The parchment analysis again indicates the map's connection with the Catholic Church's Council of Basel, convened between 1431 and 1449, first posited by R.A. Skelton, T.E. Marston and G.D. Painter, the scholars who undertook a six-year investigation of the Vinland Map and accompanying "Tartar Relation," and made their argument for the map's authenticity in the book, The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation, published in 1965 by Yale University Press. Paul A. Mellon had purchased the map and manuscript for $1 million in 1958, and requested the study after donating them to Yale.
The map came to light in Europe in the mid-1950s without any record of previous ownership or provenance in any library or collection. It is now in the collection of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven, Conn. The name "Vinland" derives from text on the map that recounts Bjarni and Leif Eriksson discovering "a new land, extremely fertile and even having vines, which island they named Vinland." The "Island of Vinland" appears on the map in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. Scholars postulate it may represent present-day Labrador, Newfoundland or Baffin Island. The map also shows Europe, Africa and Asia.
Several previous studies challenging the map's authenticity focused on the chemical composition of the ink used to draw it, and pointed to the presence of anatase, which was not produced commercially until the 20th century. But there are questions about how an ink containing anatase could have been formulated and used by a forger. More recently, the ink has been shown to contain carbon, which also has been presented as evidence of a forgery. However, carbon can be present in a medieval ink.
"Anatase may be a result of the chemical deterioration of the ink over the centuries, or may even have been present naturally in the ink used in medieval times," Olin said, adding, "The elemental composition of the ink is consistent with a medieval iron gall ink, based on historical evidence regarding ink production."
Present carbon-dating technology does not permit the analysis of samples as small as the actual ink lines on the map.
Concluded Olin, "While the date result itself cannot prove that the map is authentic, it is an important piece of new evidence that must be considered by those who argue that the map is a forgery and without cartographic merit."
The article is available online at www.radiocarbon.org.
The Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education advises and assists the Smithsonian and other museums in the study, preservation and conservation of artistic and historic objects. Its staff conducts research in the areas of material technology, chemistry, art and cultural history, as well as in the development of treatment procedures. The Center also offers educational programs about the properties and preservation of collections to museums and associated professionals around the world.
Note to editors: Brookhaven National Laboratory and the University of Arizona are issuing concurrent releases.
Public release date: 29-Jul-2002
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Contact: Beverly Hassell
American Chemical Society
The Vinland Map shows its true colors; scientists say it's a confirmed forgery
For the first time in the controversial saga of the famous Vinland Map, scientists say they have shown with certainty that the supposed relic is actually a 20th-century forgery. The findings are reported in the July 31 print issue of Analytical Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
The Vinland Map -- a drawing that suggests Norse explorers charted North America long before Columbus -- has given scientists and historians a fertile platform for debate throughout its contentious history. Several studies have questioned its authenticity, but disagreement about techniques and interpretations has left some adherents to the map's 15th-century origins unconvinced.
While other evidence has already established the pre-Columbian presence of the Vikings in North America, the map still serves as an important piece of history and has been valued by some at more than $20 million. It resides at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University.
"The Vinland Map is arguably one of the most important maps in the world," said Robin Clark, D.Sc., Sir William Ramsay Professor of Chemistry at University College London. Clark and Katherine Brown, a doctoral candidate, used Raman microprobe spectroscopy to identify the chemical components in the inks on the Vinland Map.
In this technique, a laser beam is directed at an object; a small portion of the light scatters off the molecules as radiation with different colors. Every material has a unique scattering spectrum that acts as a fingerprint, allowing scientists to identify it.
The ink is made up of two parts: a yellowish line that adheres strongly to the parchment overlaid with a black line that appears to have flaked off.
The yellow line contains anatase -- the least common form of titanium dioxide found in nature. Some scientists have concluded that the map must be of 20th-century origin because anatase could not be synthesized until around 1923. Others have suggested that anatase could have been formed during the medieval production of iron-based inks.
The current study is the first to establish precisely where the anatase is located on the map. The Raman technique allowed the researchers to examine the entire map in place, as opposed to other methods that drew individual samples from the map. "Anatase was detected solely in the ink lines and not elsewhere on the parchment, so [it] must be an integral part of the yellow line," the authors assert in their paper.
Prior to the development of the printing press, manuscripts were generally written in either carbon-based inks or iron gallotannate inks. Erosion of the latter makes the parchment brittle and often leads to brown or yellow staining. "Knowing that such yellowing is a common feature of medieval manuscripts, a clever forger may seek to simulate this degradation by the inclusion of a yellow line in his rendering of the map," the researchers suggested.
The study shows, however, that the black ink is made from carbon, not iron gallotannate, which makes the natural occurrence of yellowing impossible. Also, the map has not grown brittle over the years, as would be expected with an iron gallotannate ink.
"The Raman results provide the first definitive proof that the map itself was drawn after 1923," Clark said. "The results demonstrate the great importance of modern analytical techniques in the study of items in our cultural heritage."
If we therefore find them in the USA, one might make the assumption they remained of the same race despite the ocean voyage, BUT I DID NOT SAY THAT.
Furthermore, I said that the oldest humans in NORTH America were at the three sites...I never mentioned South America in any way, so Luzia is of no relevance here.
Many sites in South America are MUCH older than 20,000 years, some do approach 40,000 years. As you say, those people might be African like Luzia, or who knows what. I was discussing North America.
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