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"Vinland Map" Parchment Predates Columbus's Arrival In North America
ScienceDaily ^ | 7/30/2002 | Smithsonian Institution

Posted on 07/30/2002 11:11:50 AM PDT by sourcery

Scientists from the University of Arizona, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Smithsonian Institution have used carbon-dating technology to determine the age of a controversial parchment that might be the first-ever map of North America. In a paper to be published in the July 2002 issue of the journal Radiocarbon, the scientists conclude that the so-called “Vinland Map” parchment dates to approximately 1434 A.D., or nearly 60 years before Christopher Columbus set foot in the West Indies. “Many scholars have agreed that if the Vinland Map is authentic, it is the first known 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 chemist Garman Harbottle, the lead Brookhaven researcher on the project. “If it is, in fact, a forgery, then the forger was surely one of the most skillful criminals ever to pursue that line of work.”

Housed in Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the map shows Europe (including Scandinavia), Northern Africa, Asia and the Far East, all of which were known by 15th-century travelers. In the northwest Atlantic Ocean, however, it also shows the “Island of Vinland,” which has been taken to represent an unknown part of present-day Labrador, Newfoundland, or Baffin Island. Text on the map reads, in part, “By God's will, after a long voyage from the island of Greenland to the south toward the most distant remaining parts of the western ocean sea, sailing southward amidst the ice, the companions Bjarni and Leif Eiriksson discovered a new land, extremely fertile and even having vines, ... which island they named Vinland.”

The map, drawn in ink and measuring 27.8 x 41.0 centimeters, surfaced in Europe in the mid-1950s, but had no distinct record of prior ownership or provenance in any famous library. The map and the accompanying “Tartar Relation,” a manuscript of undoubted authenticity that was at some point bound with the Vinland Map in book form, were purchased in 1958 for $1 million by Paul A. Mellon, known for his many important gifts to Yale, and, at Mellon's request, subjected to an exhaustive six-year investigation.

In 1965 the Yale University Press published “The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation,” a detailed study by R.A. Skelton, T. E. Marston and G. D. Painter that firmly argued for the map’s authenticity, connecting it with the Catholic Church’s Council of Basel (A.D. 1431-1449), which was convened a half-century before Columbus’s voyage. Two scientific conferences, in 1966 and 1996, featured strong debates over the map’s authenticity, but no final determination could be made based on the available facts.

Beginning in 1995, Harbottle, along with Douglas J. Donahue, University of Arizona, and Jacqueline S. Olin, Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, undertook a detailed scientific study of the parchment. The scientists traveled to Yale, where they were allowed to trim a 3-inch-long sliver off the bottom edge of the parchment for analysis. Using the National Science Foundation-University of Arizona’s Accelerator Mass Spectrometer, the scientists determined a precision date of 1434 A.D. plus or minus 11 years. The unusually high precision of the date was possible because the parchment’s date fell in a very favorable region of the carbon-14 dating calibration curve. This new analysis of the map parchment reaffirms the association with the Council of Basel since it dates exactly to that time period, and makes a strong case for the map’s authenticity.

Several previous studies challenging the map’s authenticity have focused on the chemical composition of the ink used to draw it. Some initial work found anatase, a particular form of titanium dioxide, in the ink. Since anatase only went into commercial production in the 20th century, some concluded that the ink was also a 20th-century product, making the map a forgery. Recent testing, however, only revealed trace quantities of titanium, whose presence may be a result of contamination, the chemical deterioration of the ink over the centuries, or may even have been present naturally in the ink used in medieval times. Another recent study detected carbon, which has also has been presented as evidence of a forgery. However, carbon can also be found in medieval ink. Current carbon-dating technology does not permit the dating of samples as small as the actual ink lines on the map.

“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,” said Harbottle.

Editor's Note: The original news release can be found at http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/2002/bnlpr072902a.htm


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: baffinisland; godsgravesglyphs; thevikings; vikings

1 posted on 07/30/2002 11:11:50 AM PDT by sourcery
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To: sourcery
I thought I just read an article the other day proclaiming, at long last, the vinland map a clever fake.
2 posted on 07/30/2002 11:21:25 AM PDT by Texas_Jarhead
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To: Texas_Jarhead
I remember watching an "In Search Of..." episode where they said it was forged by a 20th Century priest who had an affinity for ancient maps. I forget his name now, though.
3 posted on 07/30/2002 11:26:04 AM PDT by Notforprophet
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To: Texas_Jarhead
Yes, you did. The main reason I posted this was because I had also seen the same article, and thought it would therefore be relevant to post a contrary opinion. Given the facts presented, and the reputations of the sources, I tend to favor the 'map is authentic' theory.
4 posted on 07/30/2002 11:26:49 AM PDT by sourcery
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To: crystalk
Another interesting article I thought you'd like to see.
5 posted on 07/30/2002 11:30:58 AM PDT by Free Trapper
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To: sourcery
Couldn't the parchment be old, but the map a forgery?
6 posted on 07/30/2002 11:43:07 AM PDT by billybudd
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To: sourcery
Now they need to officially admit that the so-called Newport Tower in Rhode Island is the cylindrical inner portion of an octagonal Norse church modeled after the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, an almost exact copy of a church in Cambridge, England, built about 1076.

These Norsemen were very devout Catholics, like Columbus. This was long before Garrison's Lutheran church suppers, with all that gooey Campbell's Mushroom soup holding everything together.

Sic transit gloria.

7 posted on 07/30/2002 11:48:48 AM PDT by crystalk
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: sourcery
Maybe so, Irish monks did a fair amount of scouting around long before that.

An interesting map-related factoid is that an early map, taken to be Ptolomaic, shows Cuba, and seems to be a redrawing of a much older map but done with no knowledge of map projections. The older map would have been a polar projection centered on Egypt, and would have possibly been before Phoenicians. Lot of maybes, but something is going on.

9 posted on 07/30/2002 11:56:57 AM PDT by RightWhale
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To: sourcery
So...Sven and Ole discovered America ?
10 posted on 07/30/2002 11:57:22 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: vannrox; blam
fyi
11 posted on 07/30/2002 12:00:51 PM PDT by Free the USA
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To: RightWhale
This map sounds pretty primitive. Now, if you want a real mystery, look up the Piri Reiss map from the middle ages that shows mountain ranges, ocean troughs and other features not discovered until the 1950s.

One odd fact about this Vinland map, though, if it is genuine, is that it would be the only clear connection between America and the Roman Empire, which gave its last gasp at the Council of Basel.

12 posted on 07/30/2002 12:12:40 PM PDT by KellyAdmirer
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To: billybudd
That's the usual method to fake an old document. Ink is harder because ink oxidizes over the years. Old ink isn't enough.
13 posted on 07/30/2002 12:14:37 PM PDT by Doctor Stochastic
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To: KellyAdmirer
The Piri Re'is map shows what appear to be land features in Antarctica. Pretty good for a Turkish Admiral 500 years ago.
14 posted on 07/30/2002 12:14:37 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: crystalk
Newport Tower

They know it is Viking, but was there originally more to it? It might be nothing more than a tower, a lookout.

15 posted on 07/30/2002 12:17:47 PM PDT by RightWhale
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To: sourcery
The Vinland map shows Greenland as an island.
A fact not known until comparatively modern times.
16 posted on 07/30/2002 12:19:10 PM PDT by curmudgeonII
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To: sourcery
It's high time that we rename this country "The United States of Vinland" ("USV") and celebrate "Eiriksson Day" with a National Holiday dedicated to the drinking of mass quantities of domestic sparkling wine.
17 posted on 07/30/2002 12:26:10 PM PDT by ravinson
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To: sourcery
“Island of Vinland,” which has been taken to represent an unknown part of present-day Labrador, Newfoundland, or Baffin Island. Text on the map reads, in part, “By God's will, after a long voyage from the island of Greenland to the south toward the most distant remaining parts of the western ocean sea, sailing southward amidst the ice, the companions Bjarni and Leif Eiriksson discovered a new land, extremely fertile and even having vines, ... which island they named Vinland.

Seems that things around the world were were a bit warmer, must have been the CO2 emissions from all those Viking Long Boats.

18 posted on 07/30/2002 1:02:15 PM PDT by Mike Darancette
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To: sourcery
Study: New World Map A Forgery See post #28, lol.
19 posted on 07/30/2002 1:03:46 PM PDT by blam
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To: Notforprophet
It was the man who was always looking for the map and finally found it. Their argument was that the writing was like his and that the spacing of the lines was exactly what he used in putting lined paper behind his writing paper (apparently not done in earlier ages).

The map may be a fake. I don't know how reliable carbon dating or any "tests" are. Dow scientists made me very sceptical about tests. However, the enduring mystery is ancient maps that require accurate time pieces not yet invented...or were they? Ancient technology fascinates me. I believe unexplained technology is from the pre-Flood age, some of it existing into modern times but collapsing as man returned to barbarism.

Anyway, it's a better explanation than men from Mars.
20 posted on 07/30/2002 1:16:46 PM PDT by Chemnitz
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To: KellyAdmirer
The Holy Roman Empire survived until August 1806, when Emperor Francis II laid down the emperor's crown.
21 posted on 07/30/2002 3:08:40 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: aristeides
August 6, 1806, to be more precise.
22 posted on 07/30/2002 3:17:47 PM PDT by aristeides
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To: RightWhale
This is just the stone central cylinder: see design of Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. This was a replica of that Dome, smaller of course. An octagonal wooden ambulatory surrounded the central cylinder.

A church just like it, on same scale, is in Cambridge, England. There are others in Scandinavia. All date to the 1050- 1300 era.

23 posted on 07/30/2002 4:19:45 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: The Federal Farmer
We now know that the Solutrean culture had boats 20000 years ago and crossed the Atlantic, to leave remains in Virginia and Pennsylvania and South Carolina.

Columbus is debunked by this? No, he was a great hero of the Christian faith, and that is why he did it-- he said it was so that the Christian faith could be refreshed and find new strength to continue its mortal combat with Islam.

But the Norse and Swedes and Icelanders and Greenlanders were regularly contacting and trading with America from c985- 1485 AD, where an established colony existed in Vinland.

24 posted on 07/30/2002 4:24:18 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: crystalk
So Gloria took the subway?
25 posted on 07/30/2002 4:24:43 PM PDT by Young Werther
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To: RightWhale
Like medieval churches on the fringes of Christendom everywhere, it had to serve as lookout, fortress, treasury, and-- in this case-- also a lighthouse/observatory. From its top some 35 feet high on top of the main ridge of what is now called "Rhode" island or Aquidneck, ships approaching from any direction could be observed (except due north, but that is land so ships could not approach).
26 posted on 07/30/2002 4:27:23 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: RightWhale
Very interesting Irish inscriptions about Christianity are atop mountains in central West Virginia.
27 posted on 07/30/2002 4:28:34 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: Mike Darancette
Vines still grow there now, and wine is sometimes made. The Concord grape was discovered at Concord, Mass, which is further north than most of the Norse settlements.
28 posted on 07/30/2002 4:30:46 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: Young Werther
"sic transit gloria mundi"= Lat., "thus passes-away the glory of this world."

Said when golden coaches return to their inherent pumpkinness.

29 posted on 07/30/2002 4:34:03 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: crystalk
Thank God that my Latin teacher, Miss Gormley, wasn't reading this post.

BTW in the movie "Patton" the general explains that when a legion returned to Rome in triumph, the general of the legion would lead a parade past the emporer. Riding in the chariot next to the general was a slave who held a golden wreath over the general's head. The wreath signified his triumphs. At the same time the slave whispered in the general's ear, "Sic transit gloria mundi".

My particular favorite was Caesar's oft used phrase in his Gallc Commentaries, "Quae cum ita sunt".

30 posted on 07/30/2002 5:07:13 PM PDT by Young Werther
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To: crystalk
The Concord grape was discovered at Concord, Mass, which is further north than most of the Norse settlements.

The place in Newfoundland where there is purported to be the original Norse settlement is now even devoid of trees.

During that time period the Norse were growing grains in Southern Greenland.

That climatological period of time is known as the "Midevil Maximum". it was followed by the "Little Ice Age" when the Norse vanished from Greenland. The reason for the Norse leaving N. America is less clear.

31 posted on 07/30/2002 6:41:51 PM PDT by Mike Darancette
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To: sourcery
The parchament is old. The ink dates from the 1920s.

You do the math.

32 posted on 07/30/2002 8:03:58 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy
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To: Mike Darancette
No one seriously believes the Lantsy-Meadows site was ever intended to be a permanent settlement, or a settlement at ALL for that matter-- or was even IN Vinland at all!

Two ships --possibly intending to settle or colonize SOMEWHERE or other, came to some little grief at that spot on the coast, and went to some trouble to thoroughly repair one or both of their vessels. Probably had just limped in. Women and livestock were along to some degree.

This very early on, as likely c982-7 as later around 1012. Greenland was only receiving its first settlers itself, then! These 2 ships may have been headed for Greenland to settle, and missed it, running too far south to make Cape Farewell--a common problem for Greenland-bound sailors all during the Viking heydays.

Quite a lot of work was done, they stayed over two winters, then sailed away in the second spring, thus they were there some 18 months in all and then sailed away never to look back, never to return. Probably they went on to Greenland, their intended destination all along! If Vinland had been their destination, they would have had no reason to do their boat repair way up there in the harsh Arctic, for Vinland too was forested, so they could have gone on to their goal, and lived permanently. Only a complete dire sinking emergency could explain Lantsy Meadows in that case. No evidence any other Vikings ever returned to that site.

The kindest explanation would be that since Greenland had no timber, these were Greenlanders seeking the nearest timbered coast, there to renew/rebuild their vessels. Maybe they built a third vessel from scratch!

Again, nothing to do with Vinland, nothing to do with the Vinland map, never any grapes, never any wheat, never ANYTHING, except a good place to repair ships, with bog iron nearby even --which they DID work, for the iron fittings and etc needed.

It is very unclear that any Norse who lived in North America ever DID leave it, I am sure they died here. Roger Williams, the first Englishman or white of any kind, to settle in the 17th century on Narragansett Bay, the central Vinland featured area, said that in his opinion the local "Indians" were all descended from Icelanders at least in part, as was their language. He also says that those who later converted to Protestantism and English dress and farming, could not be distinguised from the other English colonists by their looks, but only by their speech.

Verrazano who visited in about 1515 or so, said the natives there were "white"-- totally white, whiter than Venetian Italians or his own crew. Avoid common mistranslations, look at what he actually wrote in his own tongue! He also saw two blond white children on a dock near Portsmouth, NH, but was prevented by foul winds and his hurry to get back to Europe before winter, from coming ashore there as the children beckoned him to do.

33 posted on 07/30/2002 9:32:19 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: Mike Darancette
There were still quite a few Norse in Greenland at year 1500-1503, when Portuguese slavers came and rounded them all up to work in the Brazil colony. Only a few escaped this, and took up residence with the Eskimos after that.

The Portuguese, BTW, when asked where they had gotten these tough, hardworking workers ="Labradors" in Portuguese-- lied and said they had found them in the wastes of what we call "Labrador"== a joke 500 years old now.

They didn't want to disclose where they really had got them, so they could maybe come back and get more. Certainly they didn't want to tell the English.

34 posted on 07/30/2002 9:40:05 PM PDT by crystalk
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To: Oztrich Boy
The ink dates from the 1920s.

There is no incontrovertible proof of that. For one thing, the technology to actually date the ink doesn't exist yet, because there's not enough ink for a meaningful result. And no one has actually done the requisite comparative testing of the inks on comparably old documents to permit any definitive statements to be made on the matter.

35 posted on 07/30/2002 11:14:32 PM PDT by sourcery
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To: aristeides
The Holy Roman Empire had nothing to do with the actual Roman Empire. As Voltaire said, it was neither Holy, nor Roman, nor an Empire. Byzantium, on the other hand, traced its lineage directly back to Constantine in the Fourth Century. The Holy Roman Empire merely used the name.
36 posted on 08/08/2002 8:37:40 AM PDT by KellyAdmirer
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 GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach
Note: this topic is from 7/30/2002.

Blast from the Past.

Just adding to the catalog, not sending a general distribution.

Thanks sourcery.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.


37 posted on 11/03/2012 12:28:38 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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