Researchers have solved one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the age of what has been called the world's most mysterious manuscript - the Voynich manuscript.
The Voynich manuscript penned by an unknown author is filled with drawings and writings in a language no one understands. The book's unintelligible writings and strange illustrations have defied every attempt at understanding their meaning.
University of Arizona researchers have found the manuscript's parchment pages date back to the early 15th century, using radiocarbon dating, making the book a century older than thought earlier.
The team was able to push back the presumed age of the book by 100 years, a discovery that killed some of earlier hypotheses about its origins and history.
This tome makes the DaVinci Code look downright lackluster, the researchers said.
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, the team said.
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 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.
The researchers said the book can be radiocarbon dated because the parchment pages of the Voynich Manuscript were made from animal skin.
According to the researchers, When a plant or animal dies, the level of carbon-14, a so-called radioisotope,in its remains drops at a predictable rate, and so can be used to calculate the amount of time that has passed since death.
The researchers used a accelerator mass spectrometer, which narrowed the age of the book down to 1404 to 1438, in the early Renaissance.
Greg Hodgins an assistant research scientist and assistant professor of the University of Arizona is fascinated with the manuscript.
I find this manuscript is absolutely fascinating as a window into a very interesting mind. Piecing these things together was fantastic, Hodgins says. It's a great puzzle that no one has cracked, and who doesn't love a puzzle?.