Sunday, February 13, 2011

Dating a mystery manuscript

The Voynich manuscript is a beautifully illustrated book created by an unknown author at an unknown place and time. Its language is, so far, indecipherable (even many of the letters don't match any known language), and for 99 years since its discovery has defied hobbyists, linguists, and cryptanalysts.
Now we know one thing: its age. University of Arizona scientists usieng radio-carbon dating have placed the parchmnet used in the manuscript in the early 15th century. This was about a century older than previous estimates. Greg Hodgins of the university admits eveything else remains a puzzle. "Who knows what's being written about in this manuscript, but it appears to be dealing with a range of topics that might relate to alchemy. ...Just look at those drawings: Are they botanical? Are they marine organisms? Are they astrological? Nobody knows...It's a great puzzle that no one has cracked, and who doesn't love a puzzle?"

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