non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and threads

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Steven Avery
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non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and threads

Post by Steven Avery » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:42 pm

Hi,

The Codex Sinaiticus has had virtually no testing, and we want to know what is non-destructive, and acceptable (some times a little bit of invasiveness might be ok). The purpose here is simply to discuss some of the testing done on manuscripts and artifacts in recent years.
Steven Avery wrote:You might wonder if the vellum or ink or stains of Codex Sinaiticus have ever been subject to chemical tests. Apparently, even though the ms. has been heavily studied, and conjectural and even convoluted theories around inks, parchment, retracing and rebindings abound, no such testing has ever been done. (Note: I mention chemical testing because that has been very helpful in looking at issues like the Voynich ms and the Viking map, and is relatively inexpensive and relatively controversy-free.)
Leucius Charinus wrote: Could you link to some references outlining the potential processes for some of this "testing at all of parchment, ink or stains". For example, does the process which tests and analyses the ink require some physical ink to be removed from the pages ...
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Report on the different inks used in Codex Sinaiticus and assessment of their condition
Sara Mazzarino
http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/project/c ... n_ink.aspx

"The Codex Sinaiticus inks have never been chemically characterized, and the type and proportions of ingredients mixed together have never been determined. Therefore, the composition of the writing media can only be roughly guessed by observing their visible chracteristics and their degradation patterns."

...

"After more than 1600 years, it is clear that the quality of the writing medium originally used by the scribes was truly exceptional, as is the quality of the parchment. The ingredients appear to be well balanced creating a smooth and thin fluid perfect for writing on parchment. The recipe and the manufacturing technique seem to be exquisite too, revealing high craftsmanship and skilled experience for producing good quality inks.

No significant degradation process seems to affect the writing media. "
==========

SA
Why no significant degradation?
Perhaps it has only been 175 years, not 1650.
And perhaps they were using higher quality materials than was available in the 4th century.

=======================================================

[textualcriticism] Vaticanus retracing - spectrographic analysis - palimpsest - umlauts and underwriting - Codex
November 13, 2013
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/tex ... sages/8181
Codex Sinaiticus Highlights - Christian Askeland
http://evangelicaltextualcriticism.blog ... ights.html

The Danish scholar, René Larsen, who works with IDAP, described how one can determine the animals used to create a particular sheet of parchment. I may blog more on this in weeks to come. Additionally, he also described the potential to localize the provenance based on spectrographic analysis; impurities in the water and the type of substances used in preparation may suggest specific regions. If I remember correctly, Sinaiticus is mostly cow with a few sheep thrown in.
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The Vercelli Gospels laid open: an investigation into the inks used to write the oldest Gospels in Latin (2008)
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... 7/abstract

Abstract
An ancient religious manuscript datable to the 4th century A.D., the Codex Eusebii Evangeliorum or Vercelli Gospels, has been analysed by portable Raman and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. The manuscript belongs to the Cathedral Treasure Museum of Vercelli (Italy) and is reputed to be the oldest existent copy of the Gospels written in Latin, being therefore of particular relevance to biblical scholars. Red and black inks were characterised: minium and cinnabar were identified in red text, and carbon black and metal gallate in black text. Moreover, XRF spectrometry allowed discrimination of black inks with similar composition on the basis of metal impurities. The black ink was found to be of the iron-gall type, thus resulting in the oldest occurrence of the use of this kind of ink in Western manuscripts and allowing to date its introduction at least back to the 4th century A.D.; moreover, the hypothesis that a few pages had been written in a later time has been verified on the basis of differences in inks' composition.
Notice that ink testing was used to separate out dates of production, using non-invasive testing. With Sinaiticus you have a wide variety of conjectured dates.

The Vercelli Gospels laid open: an investigation into the inks used to write the oldest Gospels in Latin (2008)
ResearchGate
http://www.researchgate.net/publication ... s_in_Latin

On the other hand, the Vecellensis testing may support that iron-gall ink does not have to cause an acidic deterioration of parchment over time as noted in this forum post:
iron gall ink was notorious for eating away at the paper substrates .... I *think* that IG inks were best used on alkaline vellum - such as the Book of Kells, which is still in relatively good condition ... Check Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vercellensis for proof that proper iron gall ink will stand for thousands of years and does not completely deteriorate the medium at the same time.
http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum ... gall-inks/
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Scribes and Illuminators (1992)
Christopher De Hamel
http://books.google.com/books?id=9X1Vc393iPAC&pg=PA33

Iron-gall ink darkens even further when exposed to air on the page of a manuscript. It soaks well into parchment, unlike carbon inks which can he rubbed off relatively easily. It is more translucent and shinier than carbon ink which is grittier and blacker. Iron-gall ink was used for well over a thousand years, and Anglo-Saxon specimens have survived as admirably from the beginning of the period as Victorian inks from the end. .... The vermillion is for red ink, and was a major ingredient in the contract. Red ink in manuscripts goes back at least to the fifth century and flourished until the fifteenth.
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This thread may jump around a bit, however I'll try to keep the information interesting.

Steven

Stephan Huller
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Re: non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and thre

Post by Stephan Huller » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:32 pm

Great thread. Thank you

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Leucius Charinus
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Re: non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and thre

Post by Leucius Charinus » Sun Nov 16, 2014 11:16 pm

Hi Steven,

Thanks for the introduction. I have been browsing about using google and will add the following (you may have already mentioned some of these):


Ink Analysis Smudges Case for Forgery of Vinland Map ( November 25, 2003) .... http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... dges-case/

New method to identify inks could help preserve historical documents (June 18, 2014) .... http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 122257.htm

A Short History of Ink .... http://www.stinkyinkshop.co.uk/blog/a-s ... ry-of-ink/

Do historians need scientists? (TANGENT: an inventory of all the different versions of letters Gutenberg used) .... http://www.scottbot.net/HIAL/?p=40349


From what I have read AFAIK the non destructive ink testing involves some sort of spectral analysis of the ink. I also thought that there was a destructive form of ink analysis in which the ink itself was subject to scientific testing, but I could be mistaken.

Be well,



LC
A "cobbler of fables" [Augustine]; "Leucius is the disciple of the devil" [Decretum Gelasianum]; and his books "should be utterly swept away and burned" [Pope Leo I]; they are the "source and mother of all heresy" [Photius]

Steven Avery
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DSS mishandling in exhibitions - Minor Prophets scroll datin

Post by Steven Avery » Mon Nov 17, 2014 6:22 am

This next tidbit is related to what I learned at the archaeology talk yesterday:

Dead Sea Scrolls - Scientists In Berlin Criticize Israeli Cultural Authorities For Treatment Of Sacred Documents
http://cenblog.org/artful-science/2012/ ... documents/

Notice the words, from the abstract, very blunt for a scholarly paper:
Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibitions around the World: Reasons for Concern
Ira Rabin / Oliver Hahn
http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/rest.20 ... format=INT
The examination of the properties of the scrolls proves that frequent travel, exhibitions and the associated handling induce collagen deterioration that is covered up by the absence of a proper monitoring program.
Apparently the Israeli Antiquities Authority has a loosey-goosey approach at times. Even when the materials are at home. btw, This type of non-biased study of the physical materials is quite a bit distinct from NT and OT palaeography.
Unfortunately, the physical properties of the scrolls have received less attention than the textual and, consequently, the understanding that the material of the scrolls contains equally important historical information is limited to a narrow circle of natural scientists and scholars (Hahn et al. 2007, Rabin et al. 2009, Rabin et al. 2010, Tov 2011, Mantouvalou et al. 2011, Wolff et al. 2012).
One fascinating tidbit I picked up in our discussion was about this well-known DSS manuscript.
Minor Prophets Scroll
8Hev Twelve Minor Prophets
Date: 50–1 bce, Herodian Period
Language: Greek
http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/featur ... cale=en_US
The “Twelve Minor Prophets” scrolls from the Judean Desert offer early evidence for the compilation of these short prophetic books into a single literary work. This particular fragment, from a Greek translation of the Minor Prophets discovered in the Cave of Horror at Nahal Hever, contains a prophecy of Micah about the End of Days and the rise of a ruler out of Bethlehem.
Apparently, the physical materials do not support the early dating above. The scientists believe this one is quite a bit later. I hope to find more direct written discussion on the point, and I can inquire in correspondance.

Steven Avery
Last edited by Steven Avery on Mon Nov 17, 2014 11:56 am, edited 2 times in total.

Clive
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Re: non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and thre

Post by Clive » Mon Nov 17, 2014 7:02 am

Video about the conservation of the Archimedes Palimpsest

http://www.archimedespalimpsest.org/abo ... vation.php
"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"

Steven Avery
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Re: non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and thre

Post by Steven Avery » Mon Nov 17, 2014 8:11 am

Tischendorf stole a leaf from the Archimedes palimpsest, is that referenced?

Yes,it is in the history, a bit nuanced.

That's a really fine looking site.

Clive
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Re: non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and thre

Post by Clive » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:40 am

I love the comments about someone using a very powerful wood glue in the twentieth century to glue the palimpsest together!
"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"

Clive
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Re: non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and thre

Post by Clive » Mon Nov 17, 2014 9:42 am

Maybe all these documents need to be removed urgently from religiously based organisations?
"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"


Steven Avery
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Re: non-invasive testing of inks, parchment, stains and thre

Post by Steven Avery » Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:42 pm

That is interesting on the C-14 dating for the quranic text. It seems to have led to a lot of 2015 discussion. Are the results themselves valid as to what they "mean"? (ie. Is the raw data fully and accurately reported, and then can the interpretation be trusted). Then, if the animal who was the source of the parchment died at such and such a period, what does that mean for the parchment and then the document? And then, what does all that mean in the context of islamic origin theories.

One interesting point is that they seem to have reduced the amount of material destroyed.

On ms. 2427, there was a lot of testing done. It is an interesting read, and a bit on youtube. One area I found the most interesting in the forgery analysis included trying to determine the source of the parchment rather deep yellow colour. (Common on mss., and a well-known forger's goal is to make sure the parchment is coloured, "yellow with age". Note though, that the ms. may not age properly at the same time, thus Sinaiticus is still ultra-flexible and young even in the coloured parts.)

And this colouring goal was not accomplished with the 43 leaves that went to Leipzig, just because of the quirkiness of the history, where those leaves went out of Sinai before the tampering, and remain consistently white even today. Note that this is also a support for the idea that the original goal was more a replica edition than a forgery.

With Sinaiticus, the 90% of the ms. that has the inconsistent colour, the colour variance is much greater than other mss., crying out "coloured by bumbling hand". Ergo, similar tests would be appropriate.

One major difference. The theory with 2427 is that the colouring was done before the ink was applied. With Sinaiticus, the colouring was done after all the basic writing.

Steven

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