New analysis confirms Vinland map drawn with modern ink, is fake as heck

The Vinland map is a purportedly 15th-century document depicting the coastline of North America decades before it was charted by John Cabot. A new scan shows conclusively that it is a hoax: the ink used to draw it is of modern manufacture, and old text on the map's parchment was scraped off or obscured to conceal its original placement within the binding document.

Unlike previous tests, which had shown the presence of chemistry consistent with modern inks in the few spots tested, the new scan covered the whole document and confirms the presence of titanium compounds only used since the 1920s.

To confirm that the map's ink was of modern origin, and that the anatase wasn't simply unique and naturally occurring, the team performed field emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM) on samples from the altered text of the Tartar Relation and the map. This process yielded highly magnified images of its ink's components, which showed that the anatase particles closely resemble those found in pigment that was commercially produced in Norway in 1923.

Whoever did the map was very clever and accomplished, from the perfect penmanship to the way it was all imposed into a contemporaneous encyclopedia to be discovered. Vinland is drawn modestly, yet with the distinctive early-Renaissance presumptions and mistakes you'd expect to find in such a document.

But it was also supicious from the outset, with Greenland shaped (if not detailed) as accurately as a Victorian-era survey while Europe retains the distortions of late medieval maritime charts.

Ultimately, though, science confirmed what for many was always obvious: they simply didn't have the gall to pull it off.