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Controversial map of Vinland from Yale University is fake, new study confirms

Yale University’s Vinland map, which has sparked its share of controversy over claims it was the first performance of the New World, is a fake, the school said.

A team of curators and conservation scientists have found “compelling new evidence” that the parchment map was created using 20th-century ink, according to a statement from the school in New Haven, Connecticut.

The team used a technique called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy which helped them identify inconsistencies on the map. The statement indicated that medieval scribes generally wrote with iron gall ink, but analysis of the map showed the presence of a titanium compound that was first produced in the 1920s.

The Vinland map.VCG Wilson / Corbis via Getty Images

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

The map was acquired by Yale in the mid-1960s and is believed to be a 15th-century map depicting a section of the North American coast in southwest Greenland known as “Vinlanda Insula,” according to the university.

Previous studies were conducted on the authenticity of the card, but the new analysis was the most in-depth to date and examined the entire document using tools and techniques that were not previously available. . Clemens said he believed the deception of the card was intentional.

“The amended inscription certainly appears to be an attempt to trick people into believing that the map was created at the same time as the Speculum Historiale,” Clemens said. “This is powerful proof that this is a fake, not an innocent creation by a third party that was co-opted by someone else, although it does not tell us who perpetrated the. deception.”

According to Yale, the team plans to put their work and findings into scientific papers. Clemens added that he hopes to publish an article in a cartography journal.

The map was held in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and will remain there. Although this is a fake, it has become a historical document, according to Clemens.

“Objects like the Vinland map take up a lot of intellectual airspace,” he said. “We don’t want this to continue to be a controversy. There are so many fun and fascinating things we should take a look at that can actually tell us something about medieval exploration and travel.