Dalya Alberge “X-rays reveal 1,300-year-old writings inside later bookbindings” https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jun/04/x-rays-reveal-medieval-manuscripts
グーテンベルク*1が活版印刷術を発明すると、中世に作成された大量の手書き写本が（汚い言葉を使えば）〈オワコン〉*2になった。多くの写本が、印刷本を製本する際に背中を補強するための下貼りとして再利用されることになった。何が書いてあるのかは読めない。和蘭ライデン大学のErik Kwakkel *3とデルフト工科大学のJoris Dik*4を中心とした研究グループは「マクロ蛍光X線分析（macro x-ray fluorescence spectrometry [(MA-XRF]）」というテクノロジーを使って、本をばらすことなく本の背の下貼りに書かれている内容を読み取ることに成功した。
Bindings made between the 15th and 18th centuries often contain hidden manuscript fragments that can be much older. Bookbinders used to cut up and recycle handwritten books from the middle ages, which had become old-fashioned following the invention of printing. These fragments, described by Kwakkel as “stowaways from a distant past”, are within as many as one in five early modern age printed books.
Kwakkel added: “Much of what we’re finding is 15th or 14th century, but it would be really nice to have Carolingian material, so from the ninth century or even older. It would be great to find a fragment of a very old copy of a Bible, the most important text in the middle ages. Every library has thousands of these bindings, especially the larger collections. If you go to the British Library or the Bodleian [in Oxford], they will have thousands of these bindings. So you can see how that adds up to a huge potential.”
Experiments have found a fragment from a 12th-century manuscript that includes excerpts from the work of Bede, the 8th-century monk and scholar. The researchers were even able to disassemble multiple pages that had been pasted on to one another, making the text legible. In one case, they could read each of three medieval pages that had been glued together. Elsewhere, they found two fragments stuck together underneath the cover of a 16th-century binding.
Kevin Knight “The Venerable Bede” in Catholic Encyclopedia http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02384a.htm
Leonard Foley “St. Bede the Venerable” http://www.americancatholic.org/Features/Saints/saint.aspx?id=1394
James E. Kiefer “Bede the Venerable, Priest, Monk, Scholar” http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/169.html
Dik’s team originally developed the technology, in collaboration with others, to “visualise” hidden layers in Old Master paintings. In 2011, for example, they discovered a previously unknown self-portrait by Rembrandt beneath another work. Although faint and unfinished, it dispelled doubts about the surface picture’s attribution to the 17th-century Dutch master, to the excitement of art historians*5.
Now the technology has proved to be “equally efficient in the visualisation of hidden medieval inks,” he said. “A thin beam of x-rays is used to scan the object, charting the presence and abundance of various elements below the surface. That is how iron, copper and zinc, the main element constituents of medieval inks, could be viewed, even when covered by a layer of paper or parchment.”
The problem, though, is that the current methodology is painfully slow, with scans sometimes taking more than 24 hours. Faster techniques are being explored. Dik said: “Right now, we’ve shown that it works.”
Ian Sample “Words emerge from ancient scrolls charred during eruption of Vesuvius” https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/20/words-ancient-scrolls-eruption-vesuvius-x-ray-herculaneum