13th century text hides words of Archimedes

  1. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    "The pages of a medieval prayer text also contain words of ancient Greek engineer Archimedes. It takes high-tech imaging to read between the lines.

    The sheepskin parchment originally contained a 10th century Greek text, which was erased by a 13th century scribe who replaced it with prayers. Seven hundred years later, a forger painted gilded pictures of the Evangelists on top of the faded words.

    Underneath it all, however, is an exceptional treasure — the oldest surviving copy of works by the ancient Greek mathematician and engineer Archimedes of Syracuse, who lived in the 3rd century BC.

    The unusual cast of detectives includes not only the imaging specialists who helped photograph the Dead Sea Scrolls, but also a Stanford University physicist who studies trace metals in spinach with a particle accelerator.

    Together, they have been carrying out one of the most remarkable "salvage jobs" in the history of codicology, the study of ancient manuscripts."

    It's really amazing what they are able to do now to find text that was once lost.

  2. jcsd
  3. verty

    verty 1,858
    Homework Helper

    I don't see the relevance of having an old manuscript of what is already known. Surely it would only matter if some knowledge had been lost, but we should be able to reason to it again if it isn't historical knowledge, and if it is I don't see that it is too important.
  4. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    If you read the article you'd find out what they discovered, not to mention how they were able to do it.

    And discovering ancient works that have never been read before always gives us a new understanding of what we thought we knew.
  5. Kurdt

    Kurdt 4,941
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Unfortunately Evo I can't read the article because one has to be a subscriber. Did they not discover something not disimilar to calculus? I'm sure I read about this almost a year ago and it was about Archimedes so seems like a good correlation.
  6. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Odd, I'm not a subscriber, but I can read the article, I just can't click on the pictures.

    Yes, that's part of it. They are discovering more and more.
  7. Kurdt

    Kurdt 4,941
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

  8. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    More articles on the story which was initially reported in May of 2005 -

    http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/tip/2005/may20/archimedes.htm - same article reported in ScienceDaily.

    I first saw news about on a website concerning non-destructive testing - in this case with X-rays (radiography).

    Archimedes Manuscript - The Palimpsest

    AFAIK, one uses 'soft' X-rays. The technique can also be used to reveal paintings which have been overpainted because some artist ran out of canvas. And it can be used to detect fraudulent paintings and ancient manuscripts.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2007
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