The Science Times section of the October 5, 2021 issue of The New York Times contains two articles of particular interest—“Yale Concludes Its Vineland Map Is a Forgery
” by by Alan Yuhas and “Marie Antoinette’s Words Grow Clearer
” by Sabrina Imbler.
After many years of authentication and dis-authentication of the Vineland Map, a team of conservators and scientists analyzing the elements in its inks found high levels of a titanium compound not used in inks until the 1920s. Yale wishes this study to be the last word on the map controversy. Scientists using x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to study the letters Marie Antoinette wrote in 1791 and 1792 while imprisoned and smuggled to her friend Count von Fersen, were able to decipher the words under the scrawls of ink which an unknown censor had applied at some point before the letters entered the French National Archives by differentiating between the chemical signatures of the different inks. Unlike the Vineland Map study, this study is unlikely to be the last word on the subject. #ConservationintheNews