The mystery of the parchment of the Bibles of the XIII century

The mystery of the parchment of the Bibles of the XIII century

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An international team of bioarchaeologists from the University of York has used a simple eraser to uncover a mystery about the parchment that scribes used in medieval times to help them produce the first pocket bible.

The material from which many Bibles were made was known as uterine vellum and it was widely used in the thirteenth century, especially in countries like France, Italy, England and also in Spain.

At first it was thought that it was the fetal calf skin the source for the prized vellum, although various scholars in the field have claimed that it would have been impossible to keep the cattle If only so much vellum had been used since tens of thousands of Bibles were made and a lot of vellum was needed to make them. There are also other people who claim that the vellum could have been taken from smaller animals such as rabbits or squirrels.

Drs Sarah Fiddyment and Mathew Collins, from the BIOARCH Research Center of the York Department of Archeology, they had an idea to identify the animal origin of the parchment of discord.

It was a method considered non-invasive to avoid damaging the vellum and consisted of using a technology called peptide footprint zoom (similar to mass spectrometry) where after rubbing the vellum with a normal eraser, an electrostatic charge was generated and thus could be analyzed.

Fiddyment clarified that there is no reliable evidence of the use of unexpected animals although they have been identified more than one species of mammals in a single parchment analyzed, which is more mysterious still.

It is believed that neither animal abortions nor newborns with very thin skin were used to make the vellum, although there may have been some kind of production process that allowed maturing animal skins of different species to produce this material, a technique that has surely been lost over time.

Undoubtedly, this is another of the many mysteries that will remain to be solved by history, although sometimes, the more time passes, the further we are from being able to recover the ancient techniques used for the production of different objects and materials such as case, although we must never lose hope and possibly its manufacture would have been easier than it is initially thought.

After studying History at the University and after many previous tests, Red Historia was born, a project that emerged as a means of dissemination where you can find the most important news of archeology, history and humanities, as well as articles of interest, curiosities and much more. In short, a meeting point for everyone where they can share information and continue learning.

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  1. Kekazahn

    This is a great option

  2. Shaktitilar

    I hadn't heard about it yet

  3. Moogugar

    I fully share her point of view. Great idea, I agree with you.

  4. Tolman

    Sorry, I pushed this message away

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