Experts determine age of book 'nobody can read'

Feb 10, 2011 By Daniel Stolte
UA experts determine age of book 'Nobody can read'
The Voynich manuscript's unintelligible writings and strange illustrations have defied every attempt at understanding their meaning.

(PhysOrg.com) -- While enthusiasts across the world pored over the Voynich manuscript, one of the most mysterious writings ever found – penned by an unknown author in a language no one understands – a research team at the UA solved one of its biggest mysteries: When was the book made?

University of Arizona researchers have cracked one of the puzzles surrounding what has been called "the world's most mysterious manuscript" – the Voynich manuscript, a book filled with drawings and writings nobody has been able to make sense of to this day.

Using , a team led by Greg Hodgins in the UA's department of physics has found the manuscript's parchment pages date back to the early 15th century, making the book a century older than scholars had previously thought.

This tome makes the "DaVinci Code" look downright lackluster: Rows of text scrawled on visibly aged parchment, flowing around intricately drawn illustrations depicting plants, astronomical charts and human figures bathing in – perhaps – the fountain of youth. At first glance, the "Voynich manuscript" appears to be not unlike any other antique work of writing and drawing.

An alien language

But a second, closer look reveals that nothing here is what it seems. Alien characters, some resembling Latin letters, others unlike anything used in any known language, are arranged into what appear to be words and sentences, except they don't resemble anything written – or read – by human beings.

Hodgins, an assistant research scientist and assistant professor in the UA's department of physics with a joint appointment at the UA's School of Anthropology, is fascinated with the manuscript.

"Is it a code, a cipher of some kind? People are doing statistical analysis of letter use and word use – the tools that have been used for code breaking. But they still haven't figured it out."

A chemist and archaeological scientist by training, Hodgins works for the NSF Arizona Accelerator Mass Spectrometry, or AMS, Laboratory, which is shared between physics and geosciences. His team was able to nail down the time when the Voynich manuscript was made.

Currently owned by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Yale University, the manuscript was discovered in the Villa Mondragone near Rome in 1912 by antique book dealer Wilfrid Voynich while sifting through a chest of books offered for sale by the Society of Jesus. Voynich dedicated the remainder of his life to unveiling the mystery of the book's origin and deciphering its meanings. He died 18 years later, without having wrestled any its secrets from the book.

Fast-forward to 2009: In the basement underneath the UA's Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building, Hodgins and a crew of scientists, engineers and technicians stare at a computer monitor displaying graphs and lines. The humming sound of machinery fills the room and provides a backdrop drone for the rhythmic hissing of vacuum pumps.

Stainless steel pipes, alternating with heavy-bodied vacuum chambers, run along the walls.

This is the heart of the NSF-Arizona AMS Laboratory: an accelerator mass spectrometer capable of sniffing out traces of carbon-14 atoms that are present in samples, giving scientists clues about the age of those samples.

Age of book 'Nobody can read'
Greg Hodgins checks on the accelerator mass spectrometer, which narrowed the age of the book down to 1404 to 1438, in the early Renaissance. Credit: Daniel Stolte/UANews

Radiocarbon dating: looking back in time

Carbon-14 is a rare form of carbon, a so-called radioisotope, that occurs naturally in the Earth's environment. In the natural environment, there is only one carbon-14 atom per trillion non-radioactive or "stable" carbon isotopes, mostly carbon-12, but with small amounts of carbon-13. Carbon-14 is found in the atmosphere within carbon dioxide gas.

Plants produce their tissues by taking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and so accumulate carbon-14 during life. Animals in turn accumulate carbon-14 in their tissues by eating plants, or eating other organisms that consume plants.

When a plant or animal dies, the level of carbon-14 in it remains drops at a predictable rate, and so can be used to calculate the amount of time that has passed since death.

What is true of plants and animals is also true of products made from them. Because the parchment pages of the Voynich Manuscript were made from animal skin, they can be radiocarbon-dated.

Pointing to the front end of the mass spectrometer, Hodgins explains the principle behind it. A tiny sample of carbon extracted from the manuscript is introduced into the "ion source" of the mass spectrometer.

"This causes the atoms in the sample to be ionized," he explained, "meaning they now have an electric charge and can be propelled by electric and magnetic fields."

Ejected from the ion source, the carbon ions are formed into a beam that races through the instrument at a fraction of the speed of light. Focusing the beam with magnetic lenses and filters, the mass spectrometer then splits it up into several beams, each containing only one isotope species of a certain mass.

"Carbon-14 is heavier than the other carbon isotopes," Hodgins said. "This way, we can single out this isotope and determine how much of it is present in the sample. From that, we calculate its age."

Dissecting a century-old book

To obtain the sample from the manuscript, Hodgins traveled to Yale University, where conservators had previously identified pages that had not been rebound or repaired and were the best to sample.

"I sat down with the Voynich manuscript on a desk in front of me, and delicately dissected a piece of parchment from the edge of a page with a scalpel," Hodgins says.

He cut four samples from four pages, each measuring about 1 by 6 millimeters (ca. 1/16 by 1 inch) and brought them back to the laboratory in Tucson, where they were thoroughly cleaned.

"Because we were sampling from the page margins, we expected there are a lot of finger oils adsorbed over time," Hodgins explains. "Plus, if the book was re-bound at any point, the sampling spots on these pages may actually not have been on the edge but on the spine, meaning they may have had adhesives on them."

"The modern methods we use to date the material are so sensitive that traces of modern contamination would be enough to throw things off."

Next, the sample was combusted, stripping the material of any unwanted compounds and leaving behind only its carbon content as a small dusting of graphite at the bottom of the vial.

"In radiocarbon dating, there is this whole system of many people working at it," he said. "It takes many skills to produce a date. From start to finish, there is archaeological expertise; there is biochemical and chemical expertise; we need physicists, engineers and statisticians. It's one of the joys of working in this place that we all work together toward this common goal."

The UA's team was able to push back the presumed age of the Voynich manuscript by 100 years, a discovery that killed some of the previously held hypotheses about its origins and history.

Elsewhere, experts analyzed the inks and paints that makes up the manuscript's strange writings and images.

"It would be great if we could directly radiocarbon date the inks, but it is actually really difficult to do. First, they are on a surface only in trace amounts" Hodgins said. "The carbon content is usually extremely low. Moreover, sampling ink free of carbon from the parchment on which it sits is currently beyond our abilities. Finally, some inks are not carbon based, but are derived from ground minerals. They're inorganic, so they don't contain any carbon."

"It was found that the colors are consistent with the Renaissance palette – the colors that were available at the time. But it doesn't really tell us one way or the other, there is nothing suspicious there."

While Hodgins is quick to point out that anything beyond the dating aspect is outside his expertise, he admits he is just as fascinated with the book as everybody else who has tried to unveil its history and meaning.

"The text shows strange characteristics like repetitive word use or the exchange of one letter in a sequence," he says. "Oddities like that make it really hard to understand the meaning."

"There are types of ciphers that embed meaning within gibberish. So it is possible that most of it does mean nothing. There is an old cipher method where you have a sheet of paper with strategically placed holes in it. And when those holes are laid on top of the writing, you read the letters in those holes."

"Who knows what's being written about in this manuscript, but it appears to be dealing with a range of topics that might relate to alchemy. Secrecy is sometimes associated with alchemy, and so it would be consistent with that tradition if the knowledge contained in the book was encoded. What we have are the drawings. Just look at those drawings: Are they botanical? Are they marine organisms? Are they astrological? Nobody knows."

"I find this manuscript is absolutely fascinating as a window into a very interesting mind. Piecing these things together was fantastic. It's a great puzzle that no one has cracked, and who doesn't love a puzzle?"

Explore further: The economic territory of Upper Palaeolithic groups is specified by flint

More information: voynichcentral.com/gallery/

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stealthc
2.6 / 5 (17) Feb 10, 2011
what a long winded article, and I had to scour this whole article to find the freakin date as a caption under a picture?? WTF?
Doug_Huffman
3.7 / 5 (10) Feb 10, 2011
Greg Hodgins in the UA's department of physics has found the manuscript's parchment pages date back to the early 15th century, making the book a century older than scholars had previously thought.
Not good enough for you, in the second paragraph? The caption dates, 1404 - 1438, are falsely precise.

"[A] century older" was good enough.
thales
5 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2011
Fast-forward to 2009: In the basement underneath the UA's Physics and Atmospheric Sciences building...


This story is over a year old. News story from 12/09: bit.ly/8m71Y2
alq131
5 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2011
It is interesting that they specifically talk about removing "recent" contamination to get the original carbon date. Has any analysis been done OF this contamination that might lead to some idea of where the book has been since it was written.

If it was found in Rome, but written, say in France, couldn't there be some pollen, charcoal, oil, sea salt or something that would provide a rough path of where it's been?

...of course it would seem so easy watching enough CSI...
GreyLensman
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 10, 2011
The age of the parchment itself says nothing about the age of the text written upon it. It could simply be a Victorian fake. I like the pollen analysis idea, but there have probably been a lot of contaminents.
thales
3 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2011
The age of the parchment itself says nothing about the age of the text written upon it. It could simply be a Victorian fake. I like the pollen analysis idea, but there have probably been a lot of contaminents.


Seems like a lot of trouble for a Victorian-era hoaxster to go to. Much easier to get some paper and "age" it with acid or something.
PinkElephant
4.7 / 5 (15) Feb 10, 2011
each measuring about 1 by 6 millimeters (ca. 1/16 by 1 inch)
*sigh*

1 inch is 25.4 mm. That means 1 mm is ~1/25 of an inch, while 6 mm is 6/25...
Marquette
5 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2011
The age of the parchment itself says nothing about the age of the text written upon it. It could simply be a Victorian fake. I like the pollen analysis idea, but there have probably been a lot of contaminents.


Seems like a lot of trouble for a Victorian-era hoaxster to go to. Much easier to get some paper and "age" it with acid or something.


Not really. It's a pretty common technique to cut up old manuscripts, scrape off the existing text, then put some faked writing or drawing on it and pass it off as ancient.
Quantum_Conundrum
3.4 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2011
I watched a full length documentary on this a few days ago on television on the history channel.

There was more to the dating process than just what was mentioned here. They took minute samples of the dyes involved and tested to make sure they were correct to the period technology and it was.

This book also has several large foldouts which can be a few pages across. It would have been relatively expensive to make, and the experts estimated it would have taken 2 years for making the caligraphy and the art in the book.

When I watched this show I realized that there may not be a way to decypher the text, because it could be in a code, not just a simple cypher. The cryptographer would be trying to read something in an unknown ancient dialect of an unknown language in an unknown cypher/code system.

It could even be a true "code language" made up by some linquistic genius like Tolkien, except 600 years ago.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.9 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2011
The age of the parchment itself says nothing about the age of the text written upon it. It could simply be a Victorian fake. I like the pollen analysis idea, but there have probably been a lot of contaminents.


Seems like a lot of trouble for a Victorian-era hoaxster to go to. Much easier to get some paper and "age" it with acid or something.

Most paper from the Victorian era was recycled manuscripts from prior eras. usually when dating a document the ink provides a more precise date due to this practice.
Terrible_Bohr
5 / 5 (15) Feb 10, 2011
This tome makes the "DaVinci Code" look downright lackluster:

That's not saying much.
Deadbolt
3.6 / 5 (9) Feb 10, 2011
It's always possible that this is the work of some 15th Century prankster, attempting to troll future generations.

A modern person could put some nonsensical gibberish formed into words and put it onto one of those special long lasting gold plated DVDs, along with some weird, random pictures, and then bury it deep in the ground in an air tight box.

Future generations will be searching for its meaning for hundreds of years later, in the hope that it's a code that tells us something profound, but really it's the work of some nutter.
thales
5 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2011
Okay, I did some reading. The pages are vellum, which was indeed often scraped and reused. Wiki: "In the later Middle Ages [c. 1300-1500] the surface of the vellum was usually scraped away with powdered pumice, irretrievably losing the writing."

Really interesting article. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript
thales
5 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2011
Couldn't have been a Victorian-era rewrite. The manuscript is known to have existed in 1636: voynich.nu/letters.html#gb39
thales
5 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2011
Good analysis and info here: voynich.nu/origin.html
TheWalrus
5 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2011
It could also be something like the Codex Seraphinianus, a modern book by Italian designer Luigi Serafini, hand-written in an as-yet untranslated script of his own creation, and filled with fantastical and surreal images of a world like ours, but also very--very--differrent. You can probably get a copy through your local library, or through interlibrary loan. An amazing book. Well worth the time to check out.
nuge
2.7 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2011
It's easy to get caught up in the fantasy of some alien language code with an awe-inspiring revelation, but sadly Occam's Razor kicks in and suggests that what we have here is trolling and/or just plain nutbaggishness.
Eikka
2.2 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2011
One thing that bugs me in C14 dating is how can they be se sure about the exact levels of the isotope in the atmosphere to put the date within a 30 year bracket?

As far as I know, it changes depending on season and the amount of cosmic/sun radiation hitting the earth.
PinkElephant
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2011
@Eikka,

C14 doesn't change with seasons. C14 is produced by cosmic ray debris (neutrons) colliding with nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere. It does not depend on solar radiation.

The cosmic ray flux is approximately constant over long time spans, and C14 in the atmosphere has reasonably long life, so that fast fluctuations get smoothed out.

There can be regional variations in C14, but at least for the last few thousand years one can construct local calibration curves, based on measurements of C14 abundance in annual sediment layers, glacier layers, or tree rings -- for which date can be established independently of C14 by simple counting.
MorituriMax
3 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2011
Uhhhh, if nobody can read it or understand it, what makes them think it is anything more than a talented artist's doodling on parchment?
paulthebassguy
1 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2011
I would like to get a copy of this and have a go at deciphering it myself. How hard could it be?!?
ArtflDgr
3.3 / 5 (8) Feb 10, 2011
it is neither a prankster thinking about the future, or a cipher to be decoded.

its a construction to appear as mysterious and mind stumping as possible. what an illiterate would make copying and making up pseudo letters and sort of remembered letters from other stuff.

the next question is... what use would that be?

well, to a mostly illiterate culture, one could claim to be able to read it. since its not in a real language, a person who can read, cant claim that they know it says something else.

hasnt anyone here ever seen two kids and one claim a dictionary or book has the info they want and reads something out loud and closes it? (its in older movies as well)

that the literate can sway the illiterate with claims of validity from books at a time when books were expensive, and pulp fictions and such were rare if not invented yet.

one could travel and pretend to have knowledge, or sit tight and work a town. given sanctity of written words and gall, the sky is the limit...
ArtflDgr
2.8 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2011
the construction has to be like letters, so it looks like words, not just squiggles.

the images and things have to not look like anything in any other book or else its not mystical or important, its a copy or a bunch of copies (again protection from being found)

print is expensive, and written word even today holds sway. illiterate population with enough literates to make life difficult

befuddling a judge trying to judge a language that can be claimed to be from anywhere the judge hasn't been or seen.

we have lots of old books, but the idea that we found the tool of a scam of the times seems to have slipped everyones minds.

iconographic all over the world is the wizard, or spell caster, or diviner, with their mystical book!!! from walt disney to the romani.

the period its from was a period of alchemy and mystic scamming of royals was common as a way of life.
its a mcguffin, a prop
for all the worlds a stage and some of us are more actors than others
Terrible_Bohr
4.3 / 5 (7) Feb 10, 2011
well, to a mostly illiterate culture, one could claim to be able to read it. since its not in a real language, a person who can read, cant claim that they know it says something else.

hasnt anyone here ever seen two kids and one claim a dictionary or book has the info they want and reads something out loud and closes it? (its in older movies as well)

that the literate can sway the illiterate with claims of validity from books at a time when books were expensive, and pulp fictions and such were rare if not invented yet.

one could travel and pretend to have knowledge, or sit tight and work a tight and work a town. given sanctity of written words and gall, the sky is the limit

So you're saying this was another bible?
hylozoic
5 / 5 (2) Feb 10, 2011
Occam's Razor doesn't seem to indicate that a sufficient degree of order and complexity is most likely meaningless/noise. Last time I checked.
lexington
4.4 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2011
A modern person could put some nonsensical gibberish formed into words and put it onto one of those special long lasting gold plated DVDs, along with some weird, random pictures, and then bury it deep in the ground in an air tight box.


Not quite. Frequency analysis of the letters and words shows that it's organized, not random
antialias
not rated yet Feb 11, 2011
its a mcguffin, a prop
If it is they went through inordinate lengths to create it. Down to using techniques that could not be used at the time to detect whether it's a forgery or not.
Beard
5 / 5 (7) Feb 11, 2011
The poor author must be getting swarmed by time travelers.
LarsKristensen
1 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2011
From the pictures I've seen of the book, I think it resembles a book dealing with herbal medicine and astronomical system understanding, something similar about how biodynamic treatment plants. Then it is known very logical that the book is written in a kind of code that is really hard to decipher, for just that people do not understand the book knowledge does not come to make a medical treatment that is directly fatal.
meneush
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2011
Great article, loved the descriptions of the lab and activity, and that was the best explanation of carbon dating I've seen, which I confess I never really understood. Thanks.
Neil60
2 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2011
It doesn't appear in either the article or the following comments that the manuscript has largely been credited to Fr. Roger Bacon a contemporary of Fr. Albertus Magnus. Both 15th century theological scholars and nascent scientists. They both have been thought to be the early fathers of modern science for their work in "experimentation" to prove a thesis.
hoodedkingcobra
4.9 / 5 (7) Feb 11, 2011
This book is a prop for a snake oil salesman. The evidence:

The plants are the most important; the words are written around the plants. i.e. a reference book.

The People have red spots on their hands & face, indicating treatments for ailments.

The jars contained the "healing potions" were used to impress his rich clientele and likely aromatic.

The swirling patterns are energy that must be cleansed and channeled to cure the patient.

The written language IS gibberish. The limited characters and routine star placement seem to have meaning, but mean nothing.

The plant drawings are fictional. I'm sure he had an amazing story who could tell you about how he came across each of these plants.

The animals ingesting the plants were "clues" to the amazing curative powers of the different plants.

The lack of corrections indicate this is a "final" version - Not a notebook - A fake herbal encyclopedia and prop for the salesman.
thales
5 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2011
It doesn't appear in either the article or the following comments that the manuscript has largely been credited to Fr. Roger Bacon a contemporary of Fr. Albertus Magnus. Both 15th century theological scholars and nascent scientists. They both have been thought to be the early fathers of modern science for their work in "experimentation" to prove a thesis.


That's because it hasn't. Voynich spent his life trying to prove Bacon wrote it, but there's little to no evidence for it. Since Bacon died over 100 years before the earliest dating of the vellum, he couldn't have been the author.
Frater_Ormus
5 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2011
Methinks some people are getting their historical Bacons confused. Roger Bacon ("Doctor Mirabilis") was 13th century. Francis Bacon (Father of the Scientific Method) was late 16th century. Kevin Bacon was 20th century (sry, couldn't help it). Both gentleman had been versed in Alchemy, so they are often mistakenly confused with one another.

Even with the dating of the parchment of the Voynich MSS at @ 100 yrs earlier than previously believed, it is still too late of a time period to be Roger Bacon, however it still leaves it in the same ballpark of Francis Bacon. Considering that there is significant evidence to show that it was penned by a young child of a wealthy family, there remains an argument for it being the work of Francis Bacon, although it is more likely that it was something that found it's way into his possession rather than being a product of his own hand.

Dating this to the Renaissance puts it into a whole different light, considering the works of Marsilio Ficino.
Frater_Ormus
5 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2011
Although considering this new dating, I'm willing to put my money on Johannes Trithemius (look at his Steganographia for a comparison...which uses a cipher still unbreakable to this day), who was the mentor/teacher of the great Renaissance Alchemists Paracelsus and Henry Cornelius Agrippa.
thales
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2011
Although considering this new dating, I'm willing to put my money on Johannes Trithemius (look at his Steganographia for a comparison...which uses a cipher still unbreakable to this day), who was the mentor/teacher of the great Renaissance Alchemists Paracelsus and Henry Cornelius Agrippa.


Fascinating, and he seems to fit. I think Agrippa might be a possibility too.
Mahhn
not rated yet Feb 11, 2011
hoodedkingcobra is correct. At least that it is giberish. The root to stemm system of many of the plants is also antother give away. The lack of veins in leafs. Really the good penmanship on writing and lack of real detail on the plants is a kicker.
The writing lacks any emotion.
There is not enough context for there to be a code. The person was right handed, young 12-18(steady hand, low detial), unedumacated but was around people that were. Likely the person did not take credit that wrote it knowing it was jibberish, but sold it as an "unknown" book after writing it, to make money to get an education or buy food.
TBW
5 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2011
Methinks some people are getting their historical Bacons confused. Roger Bacon ("Doctor Mirabilis") was 13th century. Francis Bacon (Father of the Scientific Method) was late 16th century. Kevin Bacon was 20th century (sry, couldn't help it).

Har har. An unexpectred laugh was just the lubricant for this somewhat dry topic. Thanks for that.
_o_n_ace_ike_hat
2 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2011
This is obviously not a written language but a picture of what the printed word looked like to the illiterate artist. Beautiful work.
Howhot
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2011
As a fellow nerd, I like reading the Voynich manuscript daily. It really is an amazing works to behold. If it's a secret inside joke, it is really a good one. If it's an encrypted text, it's really good too. There are some really interesting pictures somewhere in the middle of the book that shows wheels inside wheels, that I always thought that could be the key. But I know no Latin to be a better judge. From the pictures though, 1500's sounds right and I've always thought that.
looseyarn
3 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2011
I'll hazard a guess the book is the latest from God, but us sinners have lost the ability to read it.
Maciej_Nabialek
5 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2011
look edithsherwood.com / voynich_decoded / index.php
JIMHICKS36
1 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2011
source of 'Ye Olde Book' may be more elusive than hard science will be able to uncover. consider your having a chance meeting, with someone who is able to clearly describe in detail, more about you than you can recall. what if they describe your past and future lives and the reason why you are here in this current lifetime ?? consider they practice 'Psychometry'(paranormal, a form of extrasensory perception). it might kind of make your day eh ?? more fun than football.

also, by holding something that makes a connection
to an object of your random choice, eg. a photo,
a sword or even 'ye olde book', they describe all.

science may wish to consider matching results from
a few neat folks who regularly use Psychometry and
why not a few dowsers as well ;-))

some may roll their eyes and say 'bull shit' and
that is the expected reaction from most. composite of readings might provide the author's name, dates,
an address, secret code, intended use, owners +++. do good.
Marionda
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 12, 2011
Lot's of interesting comments here and lot's of assumptions. To all that I would add this: It sure looks strange that in the Astrology section of the manuscript one of the drawings is clearly describing the Milky Way Galaxy with its impossible to misread spirals. However, we did not figure out what this galaxy really was and how it really looked like until the 20th century, after 1920. For many centuries after the invention of the telescope scientists thought the Milky Way was the entire Universe. As a result, this is either an amazing coincidence or information received from people who knew more about the universe than the Earth man did at the time. The language may actually be the language of another race of humans that once came here from other parts of the universe. Nobody knows for sure, for example, what are the origins of the Latin language.
patnclaire
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2011
I hope that they do a better job of Carbon 14 dating on this than the experts did on the Shroud. Turns out that the sample on the Shroud was taken from the wrong area. Makes you wonder about the accuracy.
knowitall599
not rated yet Feb 12, 2011
Are you positive that no one can read this book?
Quantum_Conundrum
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 12, 2011
@Eikka,

The cosmic ray flux is approximately constant over long time spans, and C14 in the atmosphere has reasonably long life, so that fast fluctuations get smoothed out.


Uh huh...

You uh...been around for "long time spans" to actually observe this, or is this yet another "scientific" theory incorrectly presented as a "fact"?

Dummy
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2011
I would like to see a linguistic analyses of the language to at least see if its viable.
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2011
I would like to see a linguistic analyses of the language to at least see if its viable.


It has been analyzed and does have a clear structure, but those who think "hoax" suspect the text may have been generated using a table of phonetic elements and a set of masks or "grilles" that could be overlaid on it and rotated to give more orderly structures of words than would have been generated by simply selecting the phonetic elements haphazardly.
soulman
5 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2011
It sure looks strange that in the Astrology section of the manuscript one of the drawings is clearly describing the Milky Way Galaxy with its impossible to misread spirals.

I must have impossibly misread them. Which picture are you talking about exactly? The closest I've seen are some pictures with circular motifs, including concentric circles or circles with radial, flower petal-like arrangements, but nothing like a galactic spiral.
this is either an amazing coincidence or information received from people who knew more about the universe than the Earth man did at the time.

Or neither of the two.
The language may actually be the language of another race of humans that once came here from other parts of the universe.

You're off your meds. I suppose Erich von Däniken uncovered even more ancient signs of alien visitation? I think hoodedkingcobra has it just about right.
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2011
Maybe its the alien version of the voyager probe, their probe gets here, analyzes the languages and materials to write on prevalent at the time, then beams down the message to us. Only problem is, it's "universal" language was a mistake by the alien scientists and nobody on all the planets the probe and its copies have visited in the whole galaxy ever were able to understand the message. Oops.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2011
Maybe its a new life form.
prestorjohn
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
How about this for an idea. The pictures contain the points of intersection, which if duplicated as holes, will allow for reading of the script.
msce
1 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2011
There is one picture clearly showing skyscrapers, not churches, or mosques, skyscrapers. Another clear sign of time travel.
Remember the Ming era Vase a week ago that turned up in new condition in England?
HonestFred
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
Well, this clearly proves it!!!
SMYY
3 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2011
The Voynich manuscript contains doodles by a bored 14th century teenager.
JaqDHawkins
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
Is there a Historian in the house? Alchemists of that time period coded things in exactly this way, including personal alphabets, writing backwards, using symbols. I'd love to have a good look at this manuscript.
Rdavid
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
At first blush, writing resembles "Lorem Ipsum," also from the 1500s.
MrGrynch
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 14, 2011
It is possible also that the images and letters are not code at all, but rather the workings of a dysfunctional mind, either through mental illness, or some physiological defect. This might have made total sense to the author, but we'd have no hope of deciphering its meaning.
doogie
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
No mystery. I wrote it it means aaghhghhh...
nuge
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
No mystery. I wrote it it means aaghhghhh...


I don't suppose you mean St Ivvvvvvvvvvves in France?
yyz
5 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2011
@JaqDHawkins:

"Is there a Historian in the house? Alchemists of that time period coded things in exactly this way, including personal alphabets, writing backwards, using symbols. I'd love to have a good look at this manuscript."

Free versions of the Voynich manuscript (at a decent resolution) are readily available. A 55MB Pdf file of the manuscript for download is available here:

h
ttp://www.4shared.com/document/4igxXdj7/06391_The_Voynich_Manuscript.html

(If you haven't seen the full work by all means check it out. Quite a fascinating document.)

heretic_of_time
1 / 5 (1) Feb 15, 2011
Search alchemywebsite.com for the voynich manuscript. Adam has written something about it that might shed some light onto this book. He has"established a link between the Baths of Pozzuoli, an ancient Roman bath complex situated near Naples on a volcanically active area, and the so called balnealogical images in the Voynich manuscript" Happy Reading! Heretic_of_time
MarkyMark
not rated yet Feb 19, 2011
Lots of assumptions here.....

Anyway its an intereting old book, is it a hoax or is it a real book with meaning for the time? Impossable really to say but its certainly a nice work of art tho.