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Media Science

Danish Expert Declares Vinland Map Genuine 210

Posted by kdawson
from the even-now-they-walk-among-us dept.
MBCook writes "A Danish conservation expert named Rene Larsen has finished a 5-year study of the infamous Vinland Map and declared it genuine. 'All the tests that we have done over the past five years — on the materials and other aspects — do not show any signs of forgery,' he said at the press conference. He and his team studied the ink, the paper, and even insect damage. They believe that the ink, which was discovered in 1972 to contain titanium dioxide and thus supposedly was too new for the map to be genuine, was contaminated when sand was used to dry the ink."
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Danish Expert Declares Vinland Map Genuine

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  • by acehole (174372) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @03:47AM (#28746407) Homepage

    The edges arent slightly burnt and you dont roll it out to read it and c'mon, where's the X?

    • Good Point... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Constantin (765902) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @06:32AM (#28746887)

      It reminds me of a problem my mum told me about in the art world: Verifying the authenticity of ancient scrolls has become virtually impossible due to the discovery of large quantities of paint supplies (dried ink especially) and paper in monasteries. Armed with "old materials", forgers only have to focus on getting the technique, etc. right since there is no means to catch them technologically; for example, carbon dating and similar techniques will give the "right" results. Thus, art historians and dealers in that field allegedly have to rely more and more on their eyes to spot bad technique...

      It would not surprise me if the Vinland map could have been constructed under similar circumstances (if that is what someone intended to do). I'm sure someone somewhere could have scared up some old ink and a hide to paint it on. It is or this reason that I guess so many folk are skeptical of the repeated maps from around the world that have come out "discovering" the Americas...

      • Re:Good Point... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Yvanhoe (564877) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @08:28AM (#28747315) Journal
        I think there would still be some clues... For instance, does a ink-covered spot of paper age the same way a non-inked spot does ?
        • That's the thing... (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Constantin (765902)

          All isotope based dating techniques are based on natural decay... whether something is painted or not, I doubt the paint will have any effect on the amount of Carbon-14 you'll find inside it... According to howstuffworks (for what that is worth), carbon-14 is made by cosmic rays, and the ratio of carbon14 to carbon-12 was traditionally pretty stable. Since carbon 14 has a half life of 5,700 years, you can look at the ratio of the two to determine how old something is (well, for the last 60,000 years or so)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TapeCutter (624760) *
        "It reminds me of a problem my mum told me about in the art world"

        Well you've convinced me, everyone knows a mum trumps an expert [www.kons.dk].
      • Re:Good Point... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @10:41AM (#28747961) Homepage


        It reminds me of a problem my mum told me about in the art world: Verifying the authenticity of ancient scrolls has become virtually impossible due to the discovery of large quantities of paint supplies (dried ink especially) and paper in monasteries. Armed with "old materials", forgers only have to focus on getting the technique, etc. right since there is no means to catch them technologically; for example, carbon dating and similar techniques will give the "right" results. Thus, art historians and dealers in that field allegedly have to rely more and more on their eyes to spot bad technique...

        That's the best news I've heard in weeks. Assigning Art monetary value based on some imaginary or hidden property like "authenticity", or "name recognition" is incredibly silly. The fact that forgers have been able to replicate this so people might actually have to assign value based on... what the Art looks like... is really wonderful! Perhaps someday forgery will be so perfect and complete that the concept of an "artistic forgery" will be a concept people have to look at history books to understand. I especially love the occasional documentary on a "master forger" who fooled all the "experts" into believing some work of art was really created by -famous artist-.

        • by nedlohs (1335013)

          Why is it "incredibly silly" for people to value something the way they want?

          Sure I would never pay $20 for a single pokemon card, but if someone else wants to that's their business.

          Same with BoA stock and antique furniture and art.

          • by Vellmont (569020)

            You've generalized my statement beyond it's original intent. I simply believe the monetary value of art should be based on.. the art, and not on some arbitrary value based upon the name of artist who created it. If you can't tell if something is "good" without knowing who created it, that's "bad" IMO. If we can destroy the concept of "creator", that's "good" IMO.

            • Re:Good Point... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @01:43PM (#28749061)

              And you've ignored his point, which was that people can value the art for whatever reason they want. Just because YOU don't like that reason doesn't mean other people don't.

              • by Vellmont (569020)

                I ignore his point because it's irrelevant. Other people are also free to believe things I feel are wrong, so what?

                • Yes, how could I forget? Yours is the only valid opinion, O Master!

                • That you are claiming that a nonsensical situation would be desirable.

                  Since we humans can record our achievements we pay homage to people that are original and talented, your comments wish for a situation that is simply against human nature: we prefer innovators to imitators.

                  If you are going to defend a situation that goes counter all what we humans naturally understand as more valuable you surely don't expect to get a free pass from other people reading your nonsense.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by el3mentary (1349033)

              You sir are an idiot, the value of any art is the value someone is willing to pay for it irrespective of how good the actual art is in your infallible opinion.

            • Re:Good Point... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @04:50PM (#28750501)

              If we can destroy the concept of "creator", that's "good" IMO.

              Except that knowing the creator, their milieu, culture, and intentions is often vital to a proper understanding and appreciation of the artwork in question, rather than some superficial and effectively meaningless reaction based on your cultural biases and limited experience.

              • by Vellmont (569020)

                Which is a point of view I don't agree with.

                • Poor sod...

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by GauteL (29207)

                  So the history and intent are irrelevant for the appreciation of a piece of art? :-D

                  So you've never heard song lyrics which sounded silly, but made perfect sense when you found out what the song writers intent was?

                  Or have you never wondered why some art or music seems almost 'timeless' while some songs sound incredibly dated just three years after they were produced? Hint, these two phenomenon are strongly related.

                  I agree with the other poster. You poor sod....

            • by nedlohs (1335013)

              People assign value to things based upon things unrelated to how "good" they are objectively. Expecting them not to do in the art world seems the sillier than the fact that people like to do that.

              The creator is one such way, rarity is another.

              This isn't just the art world. Some people will pay considerably more for a baseball signed by babe Ruth than they would for one signed by me. Others will pay more for a copy of "The C Programming Language" signed by Kernighan and Ritchie than they would for one writte

            • Wishing stupid things is anyone's prerogative, the real world has this nasty habit of behave in ways that don;t conform with our wishes specially if they are bizarre and devoid of any logic.

          • Sure I would never pay $20 for a single pokemon card, but if someone else wants to that's their business.

            Of course it's their business - and no-one argues against it, or wants to ban people from wasting their money like that. But it's silly nonetheless, for fairly obvious reasons.

        • I'm less concerned about a bazillionaire losing money on a forged piece of art, and incredibly worried about the implications for historical study, such as examination of the Vinland map. Easy forgery means that false information could be introduced into the historical record, and legitimate historical discoveries may be less easily accepted as real by the community.
        • Authenticity is not a hidden property. A piece of art is either authentic or not, and the authenticity is based in as much documentary evidence as you can possibly gather.

          Authenticity is neither imaginary. Either the person claiming to have painted something did, or did not do it, . That is not an imaginary contraption, it is a matter of fact which may or may not be possible to verify.

          Although your bizarre point of view may have some merit in a pure philosophical sense, back on earth, in the real world, peo

      • Carbon dating (Score:4, Interesting)

        by mangu (126918) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @11:16AM (#28748159)

        Armed with "old materials", forgers only have to focus on getting the technique, etc. right since there is no means to catch them technologically; for example, carbon dating and similar techniques will give the "right" results

        Carbon dating any plastic material would probably result in a very old age. Carbon-14 is produced by cosmic rays in the upper atmosphere. Any material that's produced from petroleum, such as plastics and solvents, is depleted of carbon-14, because it comes from oil that was buried for millions of years.

        The same is true for coal. Mix rock coal in a black pigment that's normally made with charcoal and it will appear to be much older.

        • by Miseph (979059)

          It will also appear to be made of rock coal, which might be something of a problem.

          The real question here is:if people were already living here, how could Vikings OR Colombus genuinely have been considered to discover anything?

          • "Discover" in this case is commonly held to mean "first time Europeans set eyes on it".
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by mysidia (191772)

            The word "discover" is relative. To discover means to find out the existence of a thing or fact you didn't know before.

            It's quite possible to discover things that everyone around you knows about (but you were ignorant of); however, that's fairly uninteresting, and doesn't get you any praises.

            People around you credit you with discovering something, if you were the first to see or describe something of interest that the people didn't know before.

            So the person discovered the Americas. And their discov

      • by ceoyoyo (59147)

        "so many folk are skeptical of the repeated maps from around the world that have come out "discovering" the Americas"

        In this case the map isn't particularly surprising for having part of North America on it. The Vikings are known to have colonized Newfoundland prior to this map's alleged origin.

      • by AftanGustur (7715)
        Problem is, how are you going to fake the wormholes so that they match the wormholes in the book that the map was discovered inside ?

        Hah ! I bet your mom doesn't know the answer to that !

    • You forget that the X is on the other half of the map that's tattooed on some teenage girl's shoulder, and the map lines up perfectly with the tattoo. She can probably be found somewhere in LA, maybe Beverly Hills.

  • by VincenzoRomano (881055) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @04:04AM (#28746457) Homepage Journal
    Now in the Americas they should all speak Danish and not Italian!
  • Larsen != Larson (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zenzay42 (1150143) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @04:38AM (#28746531)
    The experts name is most probable not Rene Larson but René Larsen. As a Dane living in the UK, having a surname ending with sen, I'm proper fed up with having to spell my surname to everyone taking my name down. To me Larsen sounds Danish and Larson sounds Swedish. Sorry for rambling.
    • Re:Larsen != Larson (Score:5, Informative)

      by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @05:00AM (#28746585) Homepage

      The source has him as Larsen, also here is his work page [www.kons.dk].

    • Yet they both mean exactly the same, son of Lars.
    • by jgrahn (181062) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @05:24AM (#28746661)

      As a Dane living in the UK, having a surname ending with sen, I'm proper fed up with having to spell my surname to everyone taking my name down. To me Larsen sounds Danish and Larson sounds Swedish. Sorry for rambling.

      The normal Swedish spelling is Larsson.

      Larsen is a danish or norwegian guy. Larson is a scandinavian immigrant to the US, or a swede who wants to insinuate he has more money than some random Larsson. Larzon is a swede who's in the sleazier part of the entertainment industry.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Sponge Bath (413667)

        Larzon is a swede who's in the sleazier part of the entertainment industry.

        From the same people who gave us Zed from Zardoz?

      • Larson is a scandinavian immigrant to the US, or a swede who wants to insinuate he has more money than some random Larsson.

        ... but without having to resort to larceny?

    • by Bill Currie (487) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @05:39AM (#28746713) Homepage

      Don't think you're the only one. Everybody thinks I'm a food. I even had the nickname MC in university. There has been maybe two times I didn't have to spell my name for somebody.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 19, 2009 @05:45AM (#28746731)

      Population of Denmark: 5.5 million
      Population of Sweden: 9 million

      Out of curiosity, without scurrying off to wikipedia, could you differentiate a Punjabi name (130 million) from a Bengali (230 million) name?

      Or, not even leaving Europe, how about the difference between Ukrainian (50 million) and Russian (100 million)?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anders (395)

        Population of Denmark: 5.5 million Population of Sweden: 9 million

        Out of curiosity, without scurrying off to wikipedia, could you differentiate a Punjabi name (130 million) from a Bengali (230 million) name?

        Or, not even leaving Europe, how about the difference between Ukrainian (50 million) and Russian (100 million)?

        You don't have to look anything up in Wikipedia, you just need to copy/paste correctly from the article that you are submitting.

        Maybe even submitters do not RTFA?

      • Population of Russia is 140 million. Estimated number of speakers of Russian language as their primary language is 165 million (mostly because most in Belarus, and quite a few in Ukraine, prefer Russian over their national languages). Total number of Russian speakers is 280 million (mostly a legacy of the USSR). Either way, I've no idea where your 100 million figure came from.

        50 million for Ukrainian is also somewhat off - it's closer to 40 million in practice (unless you take the official talking point tha

    • by pjt33 (739471)

      I'm proper fed up with having to spell my surname to everyone taking my name down.

      That can happen to almost anyone. My surname is the 4th or 5th most common in the UK, but I was at school with a family who had a rare variant of it, so I still had to spell my surname for everyone. It took me a few years after leaving school to get out of the habit, and in that time I confused everyone who didn't know about the variant. (Imagine saying "Larsen, -en" to someone who always spells it that way: they think you're saying "Larsen, E. N.").

  • by jlar (584848) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @05:37AM (#28746695)

    I remember some years ago learning about a Viking who were one of the first to visit Greenland (I do not recall who). It was written "en passant" in one of the sagas that he had reported back in Island that curiously enough if you stab an Inuit with a sword he just keeps on bleeding (due to the extreme cold Inuits are genetically adapted to have blood that does not coagulate easily).

    And who says that these Vikings were brutal warriors and not peaceful traders?

  • by pdh11 (227974) on Sunday July 19, 2009 @07:14AM (#28747031) Homepage

    Look at those large islands to the west of the Canaries. They're labelled Magnae Insulae Beati Brandani Branziliae Dictae: St Brandon's Large Islands, Called The Branzillas. Branzillas? Nobody used -zilla to mean "large" before Godzilla, and it didn't become really popular until Mozilla. The whole thing is clearly a forgery by some 21st-century geek, probably a Terry Gilliam fan, trying to mock up a folk etymology of the name "Brazil". ;)

    Peter

    • by bytesex (112972)

      I thought the expression 'brazillian' didn't become popular (and therefore used on a map) before it meant 'an enormous amount of money', as in 'I've just earned a Brazillion dollars' or something.

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        Dollars? No, it's men. As in the joke:

        Rumsfeld is giving Dubya the daily briefing on Iraq. "And, I'm sad to say, Mr President, that two Brazilian men were killed yesterday by IEDs." Bush turns white, his jaw drops open, and he freezes as though catatonic. After two minutes he stammers, "That's, that's terr-terrible. How, how, how many is a Brazilian?"

  • But they spell it a little different.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=vineland [google.com]

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