Evidence that the Vinland Map Was Drawn Using an Iron Gall Ink: The Continuing Need for Further Research

DOI: 10.4236/aces.2012.24063   PDF   HTML     4,102 Downloads   7,375 Views   Citations


The Vinland Map is a map of the world that shows “the island of Vinland” in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. It is housed in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. The Map has been purported to date from the Council of Basle, AD 1431-1449. The nature of the ink of the Map has not been identified. It has been suggested that it may be an iron gall ink, a carbon ink or an ink that contains anatase and gelatin and perhaps other unknown constituents. This paper will present evidence that supports the ink being an iron gall ink. It is intended that this evidence will encourage further research.

Share and Cite:

J. S. Olin, "Evidence that the Vinland Map Was Drawn Using an Iron Gall Ink: The Continuing Need for Further Research," Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science, Vol. 2 No. 4, 2012, pp. 514-518. doi: 10.4236/aces.2012.24063.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] R. A. Skelton, T. E. Marston and G. D. Painter, “The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation,” Yale University Press, New Haven, 1965, 1995.
[2] A. D. Baynes-Cope, “The Scientific Examination of the Vinland Map at the Research Laboratory of the British Museum,” The Geographical Journal, Vol. 140, No. 2, 1974, pp. 208-211. doi:10.2307/1797077
[3] K.M. Towe, “The Vinland Map Ink Is NOT Medieval,” Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 76, No. 3, 2004, pp. 863-865.
[4] J. H. McCulloch, “The Vinland Map—Some ‘Finer Points’ of the Debate,” 2005. www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/vinland/vinland.htm
[5] D. McNaughton, “A World in Transition: Early Cartography of the North Atlantic,” Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington DC, 2000, p. 266.
[6] K. T. Knox and R. L. Easton Jr., “Recovery of Lost Writings on Historical Manuscripts with Ultraviolet Illumination,” Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, 2003, p. 3.
[7] W. C. McCrone, “Chemical Analytical Study of the Vinland Map,” Yale University Library, New Haven, 1974.
[8] D. Andreeva, I. Mitov, T. Tabakova and A. Andreeva, “Formation of Goethite by Oxidative Hydrolysis of Iron (II) Sulphate,” Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics, Vol. 5, No. 3, 1994, pp. 168-172.
[9] T. A. Cahill, R. N. Schwab, B. H. Kusko, R. A. Eldred, G. Moller, D. Dutschke, D. L. Wick and A. S. Pooley, “The Vinland Map, Revisited: New Compositional Evidence on Its Inks and Parchment,” Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 59, No. 6, 1987, pp. 829-833. doi:10.1021/ac00133a009
[10] T. A. Cahill and B. H. Kusko, “Compositional and Structural Studies of the Vinland Map and Tartar Relation,” In: R. A. Skelton, T. E. Marston and G. D. Painter, Eds., The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation: New Edition, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1995.
[11] W. C. McCrone, “The Vinland Map: Table III,” Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 60, 1988, pp. 1009-1018.
[12] K. L. Brown and R. J. H. Clark, “Analysis of Pigmentary Materials on the Vinland Map and Tartar Relation by Raman Microprobe Spectroscopy,” Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 74, No. 15, 2002, pp. 3658-3661.
[13] J. S. Olin, “Evidence That the Vinland Map is Medieval,” Analytical Chemistry, Vol. 75, No. 23, 2003, pp. 6745- 6747.
[14] W. C. McCrone, “Vinland Map 1999,” Microscope, Vol. 47, No. 2, 1999, pp. 71-74.
[15] J. S. Olin, “The Vinland Map—A Case Study,” Proceedings of the 1st Georgetown University Conference on Surface Analysis, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC, 1970, pp. 25-39.
[16] J. S. Olin, “Without Comparative Studies of Inks, What Do We Know about the Vinland Map?” Pre-Columbiana, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2000, pp. 27-36.
[17] D. J. Donahue, J. S. Olin and G. Harbottle, “Determination of the Radiocarbon Age of Parchment of the Vinland Map,” Radiocarbon, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2002, pp. 45-52.
[18] R. Larsen, D. V. P. Sommer and M. Vest, “Assessment and Survey of the Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation and Speculum Historiale,” Zeitschrift fur Kunsttechnologie and Konservierung, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2006, pp. 249- 260.
[19] R. Larsen and D. V. P. Sommer, “Facts and Myths about the Vinland Map and Its Context,” The 23rd Conference on the History of Cartography, Copenhagen, 12-17 July 2009, in Press.
[20] G. G. Guzman, “The Vinland Map Controversy and the Discovery of a Second Version of the Tartar Relation: The Authenticity of the 1339 Text,” Terrae Incognitae, Vol. 38, 2006, pp. 19-25. doi:10.1179/008228806790802037
[21] K. M. Towe, “The Vinland Map: Still a Forgery,” Accounts of Chemical Research, Vol. 23, No. 3, 1990, pp. 84-87. doi:10.1021/ar00171a005
[22] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinland_map
[23] J. S. Olin, “The Vinland Map: Observations by Thomas E. Marston Relating to the Council of Basle, 1431=1449,” Pre-Columbiana: A Journal of Long Distance Contacts, 2008-2010, in Press.

comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.