Inks, Imaging, and EthiCodex

Over the last several years, one of the big changes in the study of ancient manuscripts has been an increased interest in thinking about the materials that go into the production of ancient books. In the case of early codices, this generally means some combinations of papyrus, parchment, leather, inks, threads, and wood. When working with fragmentary codices, we almost always deal with papyrus or parchment mounted in between two panes of glass, and we often study the materials through this glass.

P.Amh. Gr. 1, Ascension of Isaiah, mounted in a glass frame sealed with tape; image source: The Morgan Library & Museum

Over at the project blog for EthiCodex, our specialist in materials analysis, Ariadne Kostomitsopoulou Marketou, has made a series of posts about some practical experiments looking into the significance of this fact. Along the way, she introduces us to the production of different kinds of inks, and the set-up of a hyperspectral camera, as part of a collaboration with the Colourlab at NTNU Gjovik and The Lying Pen of Scribes project.

Check out the posts:

Image from the Rossano Gospels, folio 121r, Mark the Evangelist copying the beginning of his gospel.

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