notes on the parchment of the Vinland Map - #1, the condition of the parchment

Steven Avery

Here we see the first question, the condition of the parchment:

(Vinland Map is described as a:
"a faded, yellowing scrap of parchment ...")

Truth and History (2009)
Murray G. Murphey

In an effort to settle the matter, Yale asked the Walter McCrone Company to examine the map. It was clear that the vellum on which the map was drawn was indeed old enough for the map to be genuine; the issue became the ink.
By contrast, the parchment of Sinaiticus is clearly not old enough.

A few people notice the condition, since it is glaring ("phenomenally good condtion", Helen Shenton) and nobody in the textual, Bible and manuscript establishment cares (publicly, so far.) This is simply because the early date is "deeply entrenched" in the nexus of Bible scholarship. And circularity is the jewel.

Today, a successful forger must be very sophisticated scientifically, but that does not mean that forgery is not still a problem. The dating of documents, the determining of when, where, by whom, and why they were produced, is what historians call the "external criticism" of the document. It is as vital today as it ever was, since what a document can be evidence tor depends upon the answers to these questions. Historians who blithely accept a library's statement that a given document is such and such need to be aware that this is a classificatory hypothesis that can be false. 14. Murphey, Our Knowledge, ch. 2.
In the 1800s, not much sophistication was needed, and in many ways Sinaiticus was an amatuerish hack and bungle job.

We have the same problem today, a historian's eye is needed to unravel the claims of the libraries (which, in this case, go back all the way to the person who brought the manuscript sections to the two libraries.)


Analysis of Pigmentary Materials on the Vinland Map and Tartar Relation by Raman Microprobe Spectroscopy
Katherine L. Brown and Robin J. H. Clark

Had the VM been drawn in a medieval iron gallotannate ink, a yellowing at the borders of the ink such as that seen on the map might have been expected. 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.
Here the situation is a bit different, we are talking of the ink yellowing, not the parchment. Again, though, we see that it is understood that a forger, or someone trying to pass off a manuscript as old, will do what they can to give the appearance of the yellowing of age.


Note: McCrone who worked on the Vinland Map is not the objective scientist group like we have with BAM, who was scheduled to the Sinaiticus Leipzig manuscripts, before Leipzig cancelled. They are often skeptic partisans.

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Steven Avery

the condition of the Vinland Map parchment and ink

"Little or no such deterioration is seen on the Vinland Map parchment."

The Vinland Map Ink Is NOT Medieval
Kenneth M. Towe
Department of Paleobiology, Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012*
Published in Analytical Chemistry, 1 February 2004.
And this leads to

Analysis of Pigmentary Materials on the Vinland Map and Tartar Relation by Raman Microprobe Spectroscopy (2002)
Katherine L. Brown and Robin J. H. Clark

It is generally accepted that prior to the development of the printing press, manuscripts were written in either carbon-based or iron gallotannate inks. A common means of differentiating between them is by the identification of erosion of the parchment or paper substrate by iron ions leeching from the iron gallotannate inks. This causes considerable discoloration and embrittlement of both paper and parchment, often leading to brown or yellow staining and, sometimes, considerable loss of the fabric of the manuscript. This trait is not evident in manuscripts produced with carbon-based inks, which are inherently more stable than iron gallotannates.