Hidden signs found in medieval English manuscript

(ORDO NEWS) — In a medieval manuscript from the library of Oxford University in England, secret signs were found. They were made without the use of ink.

Scholars have examined a Latin copy of the Acts of the Apostles, which dates back to 700-750, and have noticed hidden messages scratched into the pages. The most common female name was “Edburgh”.

The researchers suggested that this was the name of the owner of the manuscript.

Since books were very expensive in the early Middle Ages, and few members of the elite were literate, it can be assumed that the woman was rich and noble.

The study showed that the full name “Edburgh” was written on the pages of the book at least five times. On ten different pages, there were shortened designations: E, EAD and EADB.

Scientists noted that the hidden signs have become visible thanks to new scientific technologies.

They used the method of photometric stereo recording – the surface of the paper was captured in different lighting, after which the program created a three-dimensional digital copy of the manuscript.

“This method can detect marks up to one-fifth the width of a human hair,” said the experts.

The scientists explained that similar hidden marks were found on other medieval texts. But they, as a rule, were simple dots or crosses to highlight individual paragraphs.

The authors intend to continue research, in particular, to identify Edburgh if possible.

According to one version, she could have been the abbess of a women’s religious community in the middle of the 8th century.

However, historical chronicles mention at least eight more women with this name who lived in this era.


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