Material Evidence: McCrone (1988)

4). REPORT 1988

McCrone defends his 1974 microscopy study, responding to Cahill's paper.
McCrone, W.C. 1988 The Vinland Map. Anal. Chem. 60, 1009-1018.


In his 1974 study, McCrone measured the optical properties, size, shape, elemental composition and molecular identity of samples from the VM, TR and SH. McCrone found modern synthetic anatase in the ink, showing the ink to be modern.

Xray Spec
This x-ray spectrum indicates the elements present in the yellow ink line. The major component is titanium.
Diffraction Small
This diffraction pattern determines that the titanium is present as anatase.


  • McCrone's X-ray diffraction pictures prove that the ink contains crystals of anatase.
  • The shape and size of the anatase particles prove that the anatase was made since 1920.
  • These results stand, irrespective of any findings by Cahill or anyone else.
  • McCrone adds that yellow coloration has been added by a forger to simulate age.

Anatase particles from the yellow ink line of the map -- smooth and rounded -- under high magnification (x 250,000).
Synthetic anatase particles, available only after 1920 -- smooth and rounded (x 250,000).
Natural anatase particles produced by grinding minerals in rocks -- irregular and jagged (x 250,000).


  • Can titanium contents, differing by a factor of 10,000, affect the status of the Vinland Map?
  • Can the difference be reconciled? McCrone identifies different tasks for the two techniques. Microscopy allows the quantitive ultramicroanalysis of tiny but quite pure samples. PIXE detects trace amounts in large samples.
  • What do McCrone's and Cahill's different titanium contents imply? McCrone measures the content in the ink line directly. McCrone maintains that Cahill's 0.0062% titanium corresponds to 4 million anatase crystals for each cm of ink line. Is there a conflict?


  • McCrone has indentified modern anatase in the ink. Has that claim been refuted?
  • Does McCrone's finding of modern anatase in the ink, alone prove the Map to be modern?
  • Can the PIXE results challenge that conclusion?
  • Can McCrone's claim be refuted that the yellow coloration must have been added by a forger?