Researchers in Wales have discovered hidden text in an ancient book, thanks to the help of ultraviolet light.
The 750-year-old Black Book of Camarthen describes Arthurian stories, and it contains some of the earliest mentions of Merlin and Arthur, Ancient Origins notes. The 54-page book is housed at the National Library in Wales and is believed to have been written by a single scribe.
The new findings have revealed that some of the book's text was erased and overwritten. Paul Russell, a Cambridge professor who led the discovery, believes the book's 16th-century owner, Jaspar Gryffyth, erased some of the book's verses, as well as doodles and marginalia.
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Russell's team used UV light on the vellum pages, which revealed poetry verses previously "unknown in the Welsh canon," Ancient Origins notes. The scholars have only found fragments of the text thus far, but they hope to further study the book to produce the full poems' text.
"What we have discovered may only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of what can be discovered as imaging techniques are enhanced," Russell told Past Horizons. "The manuscript is extremely valuable and incredibly important — yet there may still be so much we don’t know about it."
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