Sunday, 5 June 2016

palimpsest or spine-tingling

As The Guardian reports, x-ray techniques similar to those methods that have revealed artists’ earlier versions of iconic works or teasing out the script from the scorched manuscripts of Pompeii are now as being applied to the bindings of early printed books and discovering fragments of much older texts.
Antiquarians have known that it was common practise after the introduction of the printing-press for book-binders to pulp spare handwritten manuscripts (considered obsolete) in order to strengthen the covers of new editions. Once considered lost to the ages, researchers can know explore and reconstruct what’s within with non-invasive means. Only a small sampling from the University of Leiden has been examined so far with this technology, but with millions of older volumes in libraries across the globe, who can say what might be hidden?