Thursday, July 10, 2003

Multispectral Imaging May Reveal Contents of Burned Medieval Manuscripts

A medieval library consisting of over 2,000 volumes dating back to the 12th century and charred by an allied bombing raid on Chartres, France the evening of 26 May, 1944, may once more be studied by a new generation of scholars thanks to a new technology called multispectral imaging.

"The library at Chartres was possibly the greatest medieval library," said associate professor Constant Mews, an expert in medieval literature at Monash University in Victoria, Australia. The centrepiece of the collection was the Heptateuchon, a treatise on the arts by the 12th Century philosopher Thierry de Chartres.

A key member of the team using multispectral imaging to decipher burned scrolls from the Roman town of Herculaneum, which was buried by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in AD 79, says the technique could be ideal for reading the damaged Chartres manuscripts.