15th-Century Vinland Map turns out to be fake
By T.K. Randall
September 19, 2021 · 3 comments
A section of the Vinland Map. Image Credit: PD
Researchers at Yale University have debunked what was thought to be the earliest known map of the New World.
The infamous map, which first came to light in 1957, was donated to Yale in the 1960s where it immediately came under a great deal of suspicion and intrigue.
Alleged to date back to the 15th-Century, the map depicts 'Vinlanda Insula' - a section of North America's coastline. It also claims that the region was visited by Europeans in the 11th Century.
Despite appearing outwardly genuine, the map has been mired in controversy ever since it first appeared. Previous studies have indicated the presence of modern ink on its parchment, however it wasn't until Yale researchers were able to apply modern tools and techniques that it was possible to determine once and for all that the entire thing was a complete forgery.
According to their findings, the titanium compound used in its inks wasn't available until the 1920s.
"The Vinland Map is a fake," said curator Raymond Clemens of Yale's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
"There is no reasonable doubt here. This new analysis should put the matter to rest."
There is also strong evidence to suggest that the map was a deliberate hoax, rather than a modern recreation that had simply been misinterpreted as genuine, as evidenced by the fact that its creators used part of an authentic medieval volume and overwrote it to make the map appear more legitimate.
"It's powerful evidence that this is a forgery, not an innocent creation by a third party that was co-opted by someone else, although it doesn't tell us who perpetrated the deception," said Clemens.
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