Vinland map is fake, says Yale University: NPR

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The Vinland map was believed to be the first map showing the New World, but it has long been viewed by some as a fake.

Beaux-Arts / Corbis via Getty Images


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Beaux-Arts / Corbis via Getty Images


The Vinland map was believed to be the first map showing the New World, but it has long been viewed by some as a fake.

Beaux-Arts / Corbis via Getty Images

A map of America touted as one of the oldest on record has turned out to be a convincing forgery, new studies show.

For decades, many believed that the Vinland map was a significant historical artifact that showed an early version of North America. Yale has been home to the card since the 1960s, but during that time the debate over its authenticity never completely ceased.

A Press release published by the university earlier this month likely ended that discussion for good. University experts who analyzed the authenticity of the card found throughout it the presence of a “titanium compound” which was only used in ink in the 1920s, according to Yale News. The researchers also pointed to a Latin inscription on the back of the card as evidence that someone had intentionally tried to make the card as authentic as possible.

“The Vinland map is a fake,” said Raymond Clemens, curator at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library. “There is no reasonable doubt here. This new analysis should close the case.”

Yale unveiled the map in 1965, publishing a book about it at the same time, and its existence seemed to serve as further evidence that the Vikings had explored America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, reports Yale News.

The authenticity of the card has long been debated

The Vinland map has a long and complicated history. It was initially believed to have been created in the 15th century, but researchers McCrone Partners, through their own tests, declared it false in 1973, less than a decade after its debut. Much like the Yale tests, researchers found a form of anatase there that was not used in ink until after 1917.

Their findings echoed what the British Museum had also concluded; the ink did not appear to be from the 15th century and did not match the ink used in the Tarter Relation book, a historical artifact inside which the Vinland map was first found, according to the McCrone Research Institute . (The British Museum turned down an offer to buy the card before it ended up at Yale, according to The Washington Post.)

In 2002, the debates were still raging. Two new studies on the card have released conflicting findings: Researchers at University College London ruled it a fake and again pointed to the ink as evidence, according to American scientist.

Another study, however – this one with researchers at the University of Arizona, the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education, and the Brookhaven National Laboratory – found in their study that the parchment on which the map was drawn In fact dated it somewhere between 1411 and 1468, reports the outlet.


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