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Archaeology & History

Hidden images found in 500-year-old codex

By T.K. Randall
August 21, 2016 · Comment icon 6 comments

Images from one of several similar codices found in Mexico. Image Credit: Public Domain
A mysterious deer-hide manuscript from Mexico has revealed a series of hidden storytelling images.
One of 20 surviving codices created in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans, the aged manuscript contains several rigid pages painted over with layers of white chalk and plaster.

Experts had long suspected that the codex contained more than just blank pages but it wasn't until the development of a technique known as hyperspectral imaging that it became possible to peer through the centuries-old layers and reveal the vivid images hidden underneath.

Like some of the other Mexican codices dating back to this time period, the manuscript's pages were found to be full of colorful pictographs representing the words and phrases of a story.
The specific people and events depicted in the images however are not yet fully understood.

"This is very much a new technique," said study co-author David Howell.

"We've learned valuable lessons about how to use hyperspectral imaging in the future both for this very fragile manuscript and for countless others like it."

Source: Live Science | Comments (6)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by back to earth 8 years ago
Mixtecs are now a 'lost civilization'  ? ? ?    I thought they were one of the mainstream civilizations of Meso-America , its language well documented, a lot known about their culture .... what is ...   Oh , wait ......  'Daily Mail '    ....   sigh 
Comment icon #2 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
    Yes the Daily Mail, had you read it they quoted this    
Comment icon #3 Posted by Still Waters 8 years ago
Scientists have uncovered the details of a rare Mexican manu which has been hidden under the layer of chalk and plaster for 500 years.  Thanks to advanced scanning technology, researchers from University of Oxford's Bodleian Libraries and universities in the Netherlands have been able to peek through the dusty layer and uncovered the details of a mysterious codex that was built before Europeans arrived at America.  The ancient manu has been compiled into book form and is collectively known as Codex Selden. Codex Selden is estimated to be1560 years old and is one of the just 20 Mexican codice... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
Super cool. I had no idea the native Americans made such things. I thought they only did wall murals and stonework.
Comment icon #5 Posted by MisterSuperGod 8 years ago
Centuries old taco recipe?
Comment icon #6 Posted by stonereader1 8 years ago
Hi everyone, I am new here, but thought I would shed a little light on this subject (something to stretch your brain for the day lol) there were almost a thousand languages that were spoken in the Americas before the Europeans came- about 250 in the present territory of the United States alone. And surprisingly about half of them had some form of written language that was used to communicate their legends and records. I am an archeologist specializing in Pre Columbian Civilizations with specificity to the North American Continent.  Some of the legends from Mexico and South America even tell o... [More]

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