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Out of the blue: Medieval fragments yield surprises

Analyzing pigments in medieval illuminated manuscript pages at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) is opening up some new areas of research bridging the arts and sciences.
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Secret Mexican diary sheds light on Spanish Inquisition

The dramatic life and death of the Carvajal family in 16th-Century Mexico is in the spotlight after a decades-long search for a national treasure came to an unexpected happy ending.
Luis de Carvajal "The Young" came to Mexico - then known as New Spain - with his large, well-to-do family during the early colonisation of the Americas.

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Rare copy of the Declaration of Independence found in England

An archivist looks at a rare handwritten copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence at the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester in south England, Britain, April 27, 2017. The handwritten manuscript, only the second such parchment in existence, had been stored for more than 60 years in a strong-room among miles of documents in the West Sussex Record Office, until its significance was revealed by Harvard University researchers, Danielle Allen and Emily Sneff.
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Digital technology reveals secret of ancient Biblical scroll

The oldest known hand-written passages from the Hebrew Bible have been identified by researchers using digital technology to read an ancient scroll.
The relic, which had been too fragile to unwrap, was deciphered by Israeli and US experts using an X-ray scan.
It contains passages from the Book of Leviticus dating back to at least the 3rd or 4th Century.

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Ancient maps of Jupiter's path show Babylonians' advanced maths

Thanks to a clue from a 50-year old photograph, a historian has decoded a mysterious trapezoid described on ancient Babylonian astronomical tablets.
That previously unexplained description is a scheme to predict Jupiter's place in the zodiac - and it shows that ancient Mesopotamian astronomers beat Europeans by at least 1500 years in grasping the ideas that led to integral calculus.
The codebreaking tablet from the photograph had laid unnoticed in the cuneiform collection at London's British Museum for decades.

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Dr Kylie Murray of the Faculty of English Language and Literature and Balliol College, discovered a twelfth-century copy of the 'Consolation of Philosophy' by Boethius, a statesman of the late Roman Empire, at the University of Glasgow.
The 'Consolation of Philosophy', thought to have been written in 524 AD by Boethius while he was awaiting execution for a crime he did not commit, was Medieval Europe's best known intellectual text, second in influence only to the Bible.

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Torah
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'World's oldest Torah' scroll found at Italy university

The University of Bologna in Italy has found what it says may be the oldest complete scroll of Judaism's most important text, the Torah.
The scroll was in the university library but had been mislabelled, a professor at the university says.
It was previously thought the scroll was no more that a few hundred years old.
However, after carbon dating tests, the university has said the text may have been written more than 850 years ago.

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Gift will make historic Greek manuscripts accessible to all

A grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation will create an online digital library containing rare books and art works related to Greek history and culture which will be available to everyone, across the world.
For the first time, hundreds of key texts by the notable Greek mathematician, Euclid will be made available to all. Other materials will include copies of early Greek bibles, illustrations and plaster models created by John Flaxman, a key figure in the development of British Neo-classicism and excavation reports from Greek and Roman archaeological sites.

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Proto-Elamite writing
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Breakthrough in world's oldest undeciphered writing

The world's oldest undeciphered writing system, which has so far defied attempts to uncover its 5,000-year-old secrets, could be about to be decoded by Oxford University academics.
This international research project is already casting light on a lost bronze age middle eastern society where enslaved workers lived on rations close to the starvation level.

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Cambridge University sheds light on illuminated manuscripts

Conservators and scientists studying illuminated manuscripts in Cambridge say their work could help uncover ancient techniques used by artists.
The Fitzwilliam Museum worked with scientists at Cambridge University to analyse the composition of manuscripts.

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