Thursday, December 09, 2004


Researchers ponder whether Viking map is real

December 7, 2004

A group of Danish scientists is about to unfold a 40-year-old controversy over a map that's either a genuine 600-year-old antique or a clever fraud.

Yale University acquired the Vinland map, which shows part of the east coast of North America before the arrival of Christopher Columbus, in 1965.

Scholars initially concluded it was a valuable lost Viking document, although questions over the age of the parchment and the ink quickly arose, and the debate has never ended.

Last week, specialists from the Royal Library in Copenhagen visited the map to examine it and two medieval volumes to which it was once bound.

''It would be of great importance if this map proved to be a genuine map," said Jorgen D. Simonson, a Danish businessman with a penchant for Viking-era artifacts, who is funding the research. ''But there've been too many -- let's call it forgeries -- in the States."

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