As someone who has more than a passing interest in the Middle Ages, this article was an good read today. In Norway, there are scientists who are using high-tech tools to analyse medieval manuscripts. No, I don’t imagine the meaning of the text is being studied, so much as the physical details of its composition and what that means for the preservation of these books. With time exposure to sunlight and other environmental factors can degrade the contents of these artifacts, but through the use of hyperspectral imaging these risks are reduced. It also allows for quicker analysis. Interesting stuff.
Hyperspectral imaging has also been used to closely examine other forms of art, primarily paintings. In 2012, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch was analysed using this method. However, it has not been used to look at old manuscripts.
“The technique is quite effective for examining old manuscripts, and yields much better results than other methods. Whole pages can be scanned and analysed in a matter of minutes. Fragile documents are also protected from marks and rough handling,” says Catelli.