Material Evidence: Baynes-Cope


Baynes-Cope examines the Vinland Map, using visible, infrared and ultra-violet radiation.
Baynes-Cope, A.D. 1974 The scientific examination of the Vinland Map at the Research Laboratory of the British Museum. Geogrl. J. 140, 2 : 208-211.


Two 15th century books (the Tartar Relation and the Speculum Historiale) link the VM to the 15th century. When the VM appeared for the first time in 1957, it was bound, in a modern binding, to the TR. Two years later, the second book SH appears, offered for sale on the rare-book market. Matching wormholes suggest that all three were once bound together. The wormholes made the case that the VM dated from the 15th century.

Here, the black and yellow ink lines on the Vinland Map do not follow one other. This is not a single ink line but two ink lines, laid down independently.

Baynes-Cope compared the VM with the TR and SH, using microscopy, IR and UV light.


  • Unlike the TR and the SH, the ink lines on the VM are very faded.
  • Unlike the TR and the SH, the VM parchment is washed out, as if chemically treated.
  • The ink on the TR and SH is iron gall ink, an ink used in medieval times. The VM ink matches no medieval ink.
  • The VM ink reads as black flakes laid down on pale brownish ink, absorbed into the parchment. In places, the black ink line does not follow the pale brown line.


  • Do the VM, the TR and the SH, share a common origin, as the matching wormholes suggest?
  • Is there evidence suggesting that the VM was forged?