manuscript lab

Dating, Forgery: Methods with sampling
Fiber analysis – dating and provenance studies for paper

Case Study: Galileo's Sidereus Nuncius

Fiber identification can assist in the detection of forgery. An interesting example is the New York Sidereus Nuncius. The famous book was originally dated to the beginning of the 17th century and was ascribed to Galileo Galilei. Because “the paper and printing seemed undeniably authentic” and “the watermarks closely matched the ones found on other copies of the Sidereus Nuncius” there was widespread belief that this book was authentic. The investigation of the fibers finally revealed that the paper was “made from cotton linters, a fiber stock highly unusual in a seventeenth-century paper”. (Brückle et al. 2014)