From the International Herald Tribune: Modern techniques seek some secrets from ancient Irish manuscript.
For a manuscript written 1,200 years ago and revered as a wonder of the Western world practically ever since, little is known about the Book of Kells and its splendidly illustrated Gospels in Latin. But the book may be about to surrender a few of its many secrets.
Experts at Trinity College in Dublin, where the Book of Kells has resided for the past 346 years, are allowing a two-year laser analysis of the treasure, which is one of Ireland’s great tourist draws.
The 21st-century laser technology being used, Raman spectroscopy, encourages hopes among those with a romantic view for an ecclesiastical intrigue like "The Da Vinci Code" or "The Name of the Rose."
But the precise subjects are more mundane. The laser will study the chemicals and composition of the book, its pigments, inks and pages of fine vellum. Experts estimate that 185 calves would have been needed to create the vellum on which the art and scriptures were reproduced.
Pending the laser analysis, experts assume that [continue]