Talk:Vinland map

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Wetman[edit]

...detailing the explorations of Leif Eriksson, who had discovered America in the 11th century and named it Vinland. I've deleted this as it's incorrect. See the article. Wetman 01:32, 29 Nov 2003 (UTC)

But something very like this is correct. Bjarni Herjolfsson is the first European to SEE North America, though he didn't land. Leif Eriksson in 1000 or shortly after landed an may reasonably be called the first European discoverer. He is responsible for the name Vinland, though quite what partof NA it applies to is open to debate. 213.122.49.32 20:54, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Move external links[edit]

Can we pare down or move the external links? It's getting rather excessive, and polemical. I'll do it if I can get some agreement.

I don't know who made the above point, but I've just added references to most of the primary sources for information on the V.M., so I'm inclined to agree that the links to news items etc. should be trimmed. David Trochos 18:27, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I've now removed a few links to old news items, but retained links to original research. David Trochos 19:22, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Vinland map with the bantu?[edit]

The strangest thing about this map is not Americas, but rather that it intends to show how large rivers like the Nile are merging and originating inside the deepest deep of Black Africa. That area of massive jungle was definitely not explored pre-Columbus and in fact the origin of the Nile was only found by Victorian explorers. The cold climate norsemen are unlikely to have wandered into near-equatorial Africa. 195.70.32.136 22:39, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

I know this argument has been made, but it is very weak. The cartographic style of the map is to "close" land - if only one coast is known the other is guessed at. So Greenland becomes an island, Africa is likewise shown as a finite area rather than open to the south. The style encourages guessing at things like where a river might go, and some guesses will be right. 213.122.49.32 20:54, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

If the map is drawn after a globe as I mentioned below then Africa is actually presented in its entirety. Note the small rise in Africa under the Arabian peninsula. If the map is drawn after a globe this is potentially a visually accurate depiction of an incredibly accurate rendering of Somalia on a globe, while the large point to the right of the map is a visually accurate depiction of the southern tip of Africa. If there's any accuracy to this then little about the contours of Africa is guessed at, but is in fact very accurately depicted, though not as a conventional projection. This is very much the kind of thing I would expect to see from an early map drawn after a globe, where the cartographer producing a copy doesn't understand spherical geometry sufficiently to produce a conventional projection. Paperflight 17:16, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

The argument against the historicity of the map based on the drawing of inner-African rivers is not convincing because a connection between the Atlantic Ocean and the sources of the Nile was postulated even in Antiquity (see Ptolemy maps with its connection of Nile, Nigir, Chremes and Daras), in Medieval Mappae Mundi and in Arabic Maps of that time. Nethertheless the projection is unique for Antique and Medieval maps - not a proof, but a serious objection againt historicity of the map.

--213.55.131.22 23:56, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

Straying dangerously close to original research, I would draw your attention to the Bianco world map with which, as was recognised by the early Vinland Map researchers in the 1950s, the V.M. shares many place-names and, in a distorted form, the outline of the Old World (yet not, mysteriously, any of the rivers except the Nile). Print it out, and chop it off at the discoloured line caused by the page-fold... David Trochos 18:38, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Forgery or Not[edit]

I watched the Nova episode on PBS about the Vinland Map, and according to this documentary it seemed to me that scientists had by the early 2000s pretty much determined to the satisfaction of most objective observers that the map was indeed a forgery (20th-century ink on medieval or renaissance-era "paper"). However, this Wikipedia article currently presents the subject as though the matter is still largely up in the air. Is it, or has the matter been laid to rest? If the latter, I think the article should make a more decisive statement in support of "forgery". --Skb8721 16:57, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

so it should; I'd be grateful if you could cite more specific sources reporting this. dab (𒁳) 14:19, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

Television documentaries often like to "prove" something. Very many specialists have pronounced on both sides of the argument, and it is the specialists we should be listening to, not PBS. It still remains that we don't know. A consensus is something like: this is original parchment (with something written on it) which was tampered with in the 1950s, including addition of a modern ink. This might in theory be a forger creating the map from scratch (but if so he was brilliant, as many specialists have pronounced it genuine). More likely it is a dealer employing someone to make a document more marketable by "improving" it. This is likely to include cleaning, resurfacing, and may well include re-inking of parts damaged by over-zealous cleaning. This is a document which includes non-authentic material, but which may be authentic in its key parts. The jury is still out. Wikipedia should sit on the fence. 213.122.49.32 20:54, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

The 2003 loophole on ink analysis [1] was disputed shortly afterwards [2]. A quick search for sources seem to indicate the consensus leaning to forgery and the unwillingness of Yale U, the owner, to let a complete assessement occur, as the reason for the question still not settled completely. --Pjacobi 00:42, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Most professionals are split on the map and Wikipedia has correctly labeled this judgement as "unknown". As an amatuer historian and map scholar, I believe the map to be authentic.

We are not really able to go on the opinions of amateurs. 65.60.137.13 (talk) 14:00, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
With an almost correct (by modern standards) outline of Greenland, but very distorted coast lines of Europe? --62.143.121.135 19:49, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

13th Century Original...[edit]

I don't see anywhere mention of the fairly striking possibility that the map is drawn after a globe. To check this for yourself grab a globe with a diameter of about 12-18 inches, set it a couple feet from your face and turn it so you can just see Australia and the northeastern most tip of Canada. Note now how Africa appears flattened on this globe orientation just as in the vinland map. This also accounts for the curved boundaries and odd relative orientations of Europe and Asia. Paperflight 16:32, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

"Vinlanda" on the map looks rather like a long head wearing spectacles, the "eye" being in the position of the Hudson bay. There is a photograph of Josef Fischer wearing a pair of wire-rimmed spectacles, sat in his chair next to a table with a world globe on it. http://www.companysj.com/v203/makinghistory.htm. Fischer is suspected by writer Kersten Seaver of drawing the map in the 1930s. 9 March 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.148.86.143 (talk) 00:49, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Site "dead", see a photo here http://vinland-map.brandeis.edu/explore/historical/index.php (click on photo to enlarge it). 01 April 2012. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.22.203.39 (talk) 14:59, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

"Most" or "some" scholars believe the Map to be a fake?[edit]

I have a problem here, of the proving-a-negative type. If you look at books about the Norse exploration of the North Atlantic, published since the 1970s, you will find that most of them do the same as the near-definitive Smithsonian volume "Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga": if they mention the Vinland map at all, it is only to comment on the likelihood that it is a fake. For example, the standard English version of the Vinland Sagas, by Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Pálsson (ISBN 0140441549) ignores the Vinland Map, and Magnusson deals with it only in a book titled "Fakers, Forgers & Phoneys: Famous Scams and Scamps" (ISBN 1845961900). Thus when I insist on reverting to the claim that "most scholars believe the Vinland Map to be a fake" I am doing so not on the basis that there is a published source making that claim (although Seaver's book, which includes 80 pages of notes and bibliography, effectively does so in terms of scholars who have actually studied aspects of the map- not just chemists, but specialists across a wide range of disciplines) but on the basis that scholars for whom it ought to be a relevant resource almost unanimously choose to ignore it. David Trochos (talk) 23:57, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

First, let me say that my knowledge of this subject is somewhat secondhand – it comes through an e-mail friend of mine, who's a scientist at Brookhaven and has been involved in the testing of the map. To some extent, I rely on his information, and it's his opinion that the map is real. I don't personally have an opinion about it one way or the other, but if the validity of the map is a matter of contention – and it is – that as a point of factuality, either the lede should say nothing that tends to weight the issue one way or the other, or else the statement should be made in as neutral a way as possible. To say that "some" scholars believe... is obviously true, it adds no weight to the statement one way or the other (OK, it actually adds a *little* bit of weight just but its being there in the lede, but not a lot). To say "many" or "most" is much more contentious – that's more a factual matter than a descriptive one.

For "some" to be true, there just have to be a number of scholars who fit the description, and your refs would be appropriate in establishing that, but to say "many", now you're qualifying the number as being significant, and you do that either by posting *many* refs, or by quoting someone who's done a survey and has evidence to support the claim. To say "most" is even harder to prove – now you have to have a count, and show the there's a majority who fit the description.

So, either the statement needs to be removed, or made neutral in another way, or revert back to "some". If you want to say "many" or "most", you need a citation to back it up. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 01:39, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

I've removed the statement entirely, leaving the bald statement of fact: the autheticity of the map is not proven one way or the other. If you want to reinsert a statement describing the nature of the scholarly debate, do so only with a citation please. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 01:43, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I've rewritten it to try to make it clear that the Norse history community places no confidence at all in the Vinland Map (sorry, but Jim Enterline doesn't count as a Norse historian any more than George Painter or Thomas Marston did). Neutrality is a fine concept, but it must not be allowed to mislead. For the record, the Brookhaven National Laboratory tests on the Vinland Map proved nothing that was actually in doubt- all they did was carbon-date the parchment, which earlier studies had suggested was probably some of the missing material from the accompanying "Speculum Historiale" volume. Unsurprisingly, it came up at exactly the right date. What Brookhaven miserably failed to do was analyse the mysterious chemical soaked into the parchment, which skewed their first results; the presence of this goop had been detected back in 1967, but Brookhaven was the first lab which had been allowed to make a large-scale destructive test that would give the opportunity to analyse the mystery substance. They didn't bother- indeed they showed no signs of being aware of the 1967 study, the 1968 report of which is on file at Yale along with all the others. David Trochos (talk) 09:41, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
I've undone your changes to the lede, which are blatantly POV. If you want to make that argument, do so in the body of the piece, not in the lede. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 16:40, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, I've tried a revised version in the leader, because what you are calling POV is, as Seaver demonstrates, actually the POV of most academics and scientists who have attempted to assess the authenticity of the Vinland Map since 1965. Please change it manually, don't just revert, because both the refs. are also used elsewhere in the article. David Trochos (talk) 19:15, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
What you have now seems fine to me. Thanks for putting in the effort, I appreciate it. Ed Fitzgerald (unfutz) (talk / cont) 19:58, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
Cheers- it's all good healthy exercise! David Trochos (talk) 23:07, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Who are the scholarly advocates of the authenticity of the map to the extent they are refuting the evidence of forgery uncovered by Seaver and others? I can't prove there's been a capitulation, but, folks, how long do we Wikipedians have to wait for one? patsw (talk) 20:14, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

Since George Painter died, Jim Enterline may well be the only remaining "scholarly advocate" for authenticity- the main supporters of authenticity over the past quarter-century have been scientists arguing (with decreasing success, as the article shows) that the chemical evidence against the map is weak. New research along these lines may be submitted for publication later this year- or may not, if the new analysis doesn't support authenticity; the Vinland Map is an excellent Schrödinger's MacGuffin. David Trochos (talk) 19:21, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Skalholt map and l'Anse aux Meadows[edit]

I'm going to try and find a form of words to explain how remarkably handy the Skalholt Map was for the finding of l'Anse aux Meadows- on that map, the word "Winlandiae" occurs at the tip of a long north-trending promontory on the west coast of the American continent, that tip being at the same latitude as the south coast of Ireland. The Ingstads used the map to help them narrow the search area, and found their Norse settlement at the tip of a long north-trending promontory (etc.) David Trochos (talk) 23:07, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

The stray black particle[edit]

I'm also going to reword the sentence about the stray black particle containing chromite, but I'm going to have to explain why here, rather than in the references. I have very unofficially been given the following quotation from Table 2 of the private report sent by the McCrone labs to Yale at the end of 1973, which describes each particle they analysed; particle 9-C-2 (the chromite-rich oddity) is a "Loose black particle (maybe artifact)". The public reports at the time were just short summaries, concentrating on the anatase, and it was not until challenged by Cahill's 1987 report that McCrone dug out his old notes to compile a fully detailed paper, in which he featured 9-C-2 prominently because it was the only pure black particle, failing to notice the note in his old Table 2. The second edition of Yale's official book gave Cahill the opportunity to reply to this, and featured the heavy hint about stray particles- but the Cahill team never specifically explained what lay behind the hint. Science can be a cruel business. David Trochos (talk) 23:07, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Sounds good. That section was previously worded awkwardly, although I did like the line reference to "a subtle ploy." ClovisPt (talk) 23:01, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Karakoram or Karakorum?[edit]

It is a description of the history and manners of the Mongols that appears to be an early version of the memoir of Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, an Italian Franciscan friar who in 1245 made a trip to the supreme khan at Karakoram.

I changed that last word in the article from "Karakoram", a mountain range, to "Karakorum", the ancient capital. I am unfamiliar with the subject and am not certain it's correct, but it seems likely. Tempshill (talk) 19:10, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Particles[edit]

Re the "chromium" particle found "sticking loosely to the surface of the ink line": is it a "20th century" particle? is it the same composition as any of the "many other particles" found in the fold? 26 March 2008. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.150.162.104 (talk) 18:05, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

A couple of the 30 or so particles from the fold removed for analysis in 1985 contained significant quantities of chromium and iron, like the 1974 stray. The analyst pondered whether they might include chromite- which in turn led to a theory about the original composition of the Vinland Map ink, published in the Smithsonian book "Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga" (2000). However it has been pointed out that chromite (FeO·Cr2O3) contains two Cr atoms for every one Fe atom- but these stray particles (in both the 1974 and 1985 analyses) contained significantly more Fe than Cr. David Trochos (talk) 20:22, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Mercator Projection[edit]

I think it is absurd that there is an argument over this obvious forgery. If this manuscript had not been "discovered" and published by a rich Yale alumnus it would have been ignored from the beginning. Anyone with even passing familiarity with real 14th-century maps can attest this as an obvious forgery. For one thing it is in a Mercator projection (a 16th-century invention). The draftsmanship is also nothing like any real 14th-century map. For example, if you compare it to the Gough map or the Hereford map the forgery is obvious. Its embarrassing that there is a "controversy". John Chamberlain (talk) 23:07, 20 November 2008 (UTC)

To be fair, it isn't on a Mercator projection (or Greenland would be much bigger, for a start), and the Gough and Hereford maps aren't good comparisons, because this is supposed to be just an illustration for a rather hastily-copied volume of the Speculum Historiale. But nonetheless, I agree with your last sentence! David Trochos (talk) 19:53, 21 November 2008 (UTC)

Circumnavigating Greenland[edit]

Edits by Facts107 on 10 Mar 2009 have highlighted the possibility that Greenland could have been circumnavigated "at least once" during the Medieval Warm Period. Technically speaking, this is absolutely correct in the sense that it's impossible to disprove- but such medieval evidence as exists makes it quite clear that if there was a circumnavigation (with a skilled navigator/surveyor aboard), no geographer EXCEPT the possible medieval author of the Vinland Map was told of it. The introduction of such arguments is a perennial problem of articles about possible fake artifacts, so I'm not sure how we should treat this particular example. David Trochos (talk) 18:49, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

I've removed it as OR - without a reliable source to cite, it's just speculation. If any editor wants to replace it with a reference to a reliable source, feel free, but otherwise, please don't. dougweller (talk) 19:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Dealer's admission?[edit]

This article contains the assertion that the dealer of the Vinland map, Larry Witten, is quoted in the Skelton book to the effect that he had lied regarding the map's provenance. I have not read the Skelton book but I would like to see that statement footnoted to the text on here, if in fact Witten made such statements, of which I am unaware. MarmadukePercy (talk) 04:39, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Done. An amusing footnote- close reading of Skelton et al. makes it apparent that even the confession contains a major lie! David Trochos (talk) 08:21, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
As I don't have the Skelton book to hand, and it might be some time before I can put my hands on a copy, would you mind filling me in on how Witten misrepresented the map's provenance? Thanks. MarmadukePercy (talk) 22:32, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Ansewered on Marmaduke's talk pageArchived here. David Trochos (talk) 09:41, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Rene Larsen Authentication[edit]

Rene Larsen at the School of Conservation, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts has just completed a 5 year study of the map, and has announced that it is genuine.


Larsen said his team carried out studies of the ink, writing, wormholes and parchment of the map, which is housed at Yale University in the United States.

He said wormholes, caused by wood beetles, were consistent with wormholes in the books with which the map was bound.

He said claims the ink was too recent because it contained a substance called anatase titanium dioxide could be rejected because medieval maps have been found with the same substance, which probably came from sand used to dry wet ink.

http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/tre56g583-us-map-america/

scope_creep (talk) 16:45, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that's the same story as in reference 4 of the article. The authors of the last report on the map (reference 2 of the article) are awaiting further details, as some of the claims in these second-hand news reports appear either not to make sense, or to miss the point of earlier work (for example, nobody seriously disputes the consistency of the wormholes in the map and its associated volumes- the problem, if anything, is that they are TOO consistent, as if the worms [beetle larvae] were guided). David Trochos (talk) 17:01, 19 July 2009 (UTC) (Revised David Trochos (talk) 09:43, 20 July 2009 (UTC))
Not "second-hand news report", since according to Reuters, Larsen talked to Reuters directly. I saw my edits were reverted claiming they were second hand, however, the report says "Larsen told Reuters", which indicates first hand. Also, this article's been reverted to a clearly inaccurate state, using the phrase "most recent" in the lead paragraph, although those are not the most recent. I'd edited in the dates instead, which cannot be disputed. (Irrelevantly, I drew a copy of the Vinland map by hand in the '70's; I've been following this saga for a while.) Skeuomorph (talk) 23:50, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
An article written by a person is a first hand report of what that person says. An article written by a reporter, reporting what a person says, is a second hand report. Dougweller (talk) 07:07, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
No, an article written by a person is not a first hand "report" of what that person says, it is simply what that person says. If the journalist is listening to a talk, perhaps it could be argued that's second hand, but traditionally, a journalist reporting on what people who were at the talk said was said, would be considered second hand. But regardless, when the journalist is reporting an interview he himself conducted, that makes his "report" first hand. Skeuomorph (talk) 23:12, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
Ok, the report is first hand, I agree. I'm not sure if you meant your penultimate sentence to say what it does, that any report of what anyone said is second hand, is that what you meant?
A partial comment from someone who was there: "he did not claim that the map was definitely genuine. Instead, he said that his research - and he pointed to the need for further analysis - had not found any evidence that the map was a fake. He did not say that the presence of anatase titanium dioxide could not be consistent with a recent origin. Rather, he suggested a possible alternative explanation..." Dougweller (talk)
To clarify my comment which began this little debate: when the Reuters writer wrote "Vinland Map ... is almost certainly genuine, a Danish expert said Friday" he was very probably not quoting any Danish expert, but putting his own second-hand, sensationalist interpretation on Larsen's rather different claim that his team's tests "do not show any signs of forgery". David Trochos (talk) 18:12, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Of course we really need the report from Larsen and his team rather than just a press report. But I do think this Wikipedia article should give appropriate weight to his findings and those of his team - they are a serious academic source. Larsen is working in a completely different discipline to Towe, and the idea that Larsen's ideas can simply be demolished by Towe (as this article presently suggests) is misleading - multi-disciplinary study just doesn't work this way. Larsen's discipline of manuscript conservation gives no evidence of forgery. Towe's discipline of chemistry finds there is anatase present which is (probably? certainly?) synthetic. A Wikipedia article can do no more than set out these two views. They are not necessarily in conflict - rather there is no evidence of forgery, but synthetic anatase is present. It seems to me that Larsen has weakened his position by speculating where the anatase might have come from - this isn't his discipline. It may be of course that his report hedges more - for example he may look at possible mediaeval sources and possible twentieth century contamination. But it doesn't actually change the view he is expressing that the map when approached from the discipline of manuscript conservation shows no evidence of forgery, or as the reporter puts it is genuine. Maybe it is up to Towe to explain how synthetic anatase can be on a genuine map. Graemedavis (talk) 23:49, 13 August 2009 (UTC)
If I understand this, Larsen, a person with experience in the preservation and conservation of old documents, did a study of the map for five years and concluded that he didn't find anything that proved it was a fake and he came up with an explanation for the anatase crystals. Unfortunately the source of most of this is an article and not his report which is not on-line. The report seems to have been published in a non-English journal. Is the report in English? How did Larsen come to have access to the map for such an extended period of time? At any rate I read through the paragraph in question and I thought it was a fair representation of the situation. If anything the reported explanation by Larsen of the anatase is more dubious than the Wikipedia article suggests. Larsen seems to have proposed a new theory for the presence of the anatase without having the appropriate technical background to be seen as a credible source about that. There is also no evidence that I saw in any of the on-line articles about this that Larsen did any testing related to one of the main pieces of evidence against the authenticity of the map.--Davefoc (talk) 15:15, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Larsen's team didn't actually have the map for 5 years, though they may have made some return visits to Yale to check particular aspects. Most of the work was analysis of data gathered over a much shorter timespan. David Trochos (talk) 18:53, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Response to Larsen from Kenneth Towe[edit]

See [3] (Kirsten Seaver posted this to a list). Dougweller (talk) 19:10, 19 July 2009 (UTC)

Attempts to referee the debate[edit]

There have been a couple of editors who seem intent on having the text of the intro declare who is currently "winning" the debate about the map's authenticity. Their edit summaries betray their agendas, by declaring how important it is to rule upon this question. It is not the role of Wikipedia articles to ensure that people reach the "correct" conclusion. I have no dog in this particular hunt (having come to the article only out of curiosity), and propose that rather than introducing time-sensitive descriptions such as "the most recent" (discouraged by MOS) we simply give dates. It is NPOV, and it is responsible, sober encyclopedia writing that will stand the test of time. - Jason A. Quest (talk) 19:36, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

As far as I can see, MOS only discourages "recently", not "most recent", which is expressing a different concept. If you look further up this page, at the section "Most" or "some" scholars believe the Map to be a fake?, you'll see that the "most recent" wording was specifically developed to comply with NPOV. The present wording is better than nothing, albeit grammatically clumsy, but in the academic world where the Vinland Map might actually matter, the controversy was pretty much over by 1966 (because, as the article attempts to illustrate, ink chemistry is by no means the only problem with the Map) and I would suggest that it is dishonest to give Wikipedia readers the impression even that a significant minority of scholars take it seriously as an example of medieval cartography. David Trochos (talk) 00:38, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Here you and I part company, I'm afraid. As a rank amateur on cartography and medieval manuscripts, I do believe that the controversy was not over by 1966 -- otherwise, why would it have simmered for this long? Clearly, there are experts on either side of this debate, and as the previous user suggested -- and as rational journalistic practice dictates -- the role of wikipedia is not picking a side, but illustrating the complexities and nuances. Ironically, illustrating those complexities, instead of attempting to settle the matter, makes not only for good journalism, but for a better narrative. The controversy lives on for a reason, as the most recent conference suggests, to me anyway. That's my two cents on the matter as a non-expert of longstanding. MarmadukePercy (talk) 00:50, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Marmaduke, the problem is that many of the complexities cannot be illustrated in Wikipedia, because the surviving evidence is only circumstantial (echoed in the present situation, where there appears, anecdotally, to be a sharp divergence between the impression given by the Reuters report and the impression gained by those who actually attended the cartographic conference). Note that my actual statement was not "the controversy was pretty much over by 1966" but "in the academic world where the Vinland Map might actually matter, the controversy was pretty much over by 1966" (although I guess it could be said that there remained an inverse relationship between scholarly belief in the Vinland Map and familiarity with historical scholarship in Scandinavian languages). The circumstantial evidence indicates that for the Vinland Map to be officially declared a fake at any time before 1971 would have been very inconvenient for Paul Mellon, due to the statute of limitations on tax evasion, and that action (or rather inaction) was taken accordingly. Regarding the continuation of the debate over four decades more- as the article attempts to indicate, most of it is based on overenthusiastic mistakes by scientists, and an analysis of the Vinland Map saga's lessons for scientific methodology may prove to be the most lasting benefit of the whole mess. David Trochos (talk) 07:45, 21 July 2009 (UTC) (Corrected- David Trochos (talk) 07:50, 21 July 2009 (UTC))
I'm unclear about what you mean about the 'statute of limitations on tax evasion.' Are you suggesting that Mellon (or Witten) were trying to perpetrate a tax fraud? I suppose I see the whole Vinland map saga, if in fact the map is not genuine, as more of a fumbling, than an attempt at outright fraud. That's just my take on it as a largely ignorant observer. Also, having been convinced at one point that the map was almost certainly a fake, nowadays I guess I'm wondering whether it is genuine or not, probably as a result of the publication of results like those at the recent conference. Again, all this comes from someone with little or no expertise in the matter. MarmadukePercy (talk) 20:56, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Fumbling? In its early stages (pre-1974), absolutely not. A chain of about half-a-dozen people understood exactly what they needed to do to get the maximum benefit from a remarkable map with no provenance, and each helped the next in the chain to achieve his personal goal. The circumstantial evidence indicates that Mellon's key goal was, as was fashionable among the wealthy even then, to make a profit from taxpayers by arranging for the Map to increase greatly in value between the time he bought it and the time he donated it. Not fraud- indeed no fraud case could ever have been proved against any US citizen involved- just a diffferent brand of ethics. David Trochos (talk) 21:26, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
I can't speak to Witten's motives, but knowing a bit about Paul Mellon's role at The National Gallery (where the employees referred to him simply as 'PM'), I believe you may misunderstand his motives a bit. Certainly he wouldn't have done anything counterproductive to his own wealth; on the other hand, given the enormous donations made by the man to many institutions, including the National Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University and many others, I don't think that 'tax evasion' was at the top of Mellon's list of priorities. MarmadukePercy (talk) 21:44, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Try thinking of it as a game (also very applicable to Andrew Mellon's establishment of the National Gallery). By the way, this conversation is getting a bit off-topic for an article talk page! David Trochos (talk) 22:40, 21 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, but I don't need suggestions on how to look at it. I know something about Mellon. As for this discussion, I don't think it's off-topic: it goes to what I view as an attempt to turn a wikipedia article into a petri dish for conspiracy theories. I suspect most people, barring a grand jury's indictment, see events surrounding the map as the stumbling of folks without the scientific tools we enjoy today. I go back to my previous point: I agree with the prior editor that this is an encyclopedia entry. Barring disclosure of clear intent to defraud, or unequivocal proof that the map is fake, I believe this article should rise above character assassination -- especially of the dead, who everyone knows 'can't sue' -- and should concentrate instead on delineating the issues at hand. MarmadukePercy (talk) 01:02, 22 July 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately, your phrase "without the scientific tools we enjoy today" goes to the heart of the problem, and of the role of Paul Mellon (or, let's say, Mellon's advisers). Until 1967, the Vinland Map was not investigated by any scientists at all. Even specialists in Norse history, and specialists in medieval writing, were effectively kept out of the research which produced the Skelton book. David Trochos (talk) 08:55, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

A worrying thought[edit]

Wikipedia is supposed to be based on Reliable Sources, preferably peer-reviewed or at least published by reputable academic publishers. Can anybody name one source supporting the authenticity of the Vinland Map which meets those criteria- and has also not been discredited by later research of equal academic standing? David Trochos (talk) 19:41, 21 July 2009 (UTC) [Slightly revised for clarity, 30 July 2009; if there's no response by 8 August 2009, I'll amend the article as appropriate. David Trochos (talk) 19:49, 30 July 2009 (UTC)]

Article now revised. Claims that the Vinland Map may be authentic should be made only if you have reliable evidence which refutes the evidence mentioned in the article. David Trochos (talk) 06:38, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I'm surprised you are ignoring this http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE56G58320090717 (you can hardly get a more reliable source than reuters) Mathmo Talk 00:42, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Of course you can get more reliable sources than Reuters, eg a peer-reviewed academic journal. Reuters is a reliable source (generally) for events, but not to claim that something is real,imaginary, etc. Dougweller (talk) 07:09, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Also- who's ignoring it? That Reuters piece is referenced three times in the article, which explains very clearly that peer-reviewed publication of Dr Larsen's work is quite eagerly awaited, given the controversial nature of some of his statements to the press. David Trochos (talk) 17:47, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
  • Larsen's extremely broad claim "All the tests that we have done over the past five years — on the materials and other aspects — do not show any signs of forgery" made in 2009 has not yet been backed up with a peer-reviewed article rebutting past signs of forgery in the literature. How long does one have to wait? patsw (talk) 01:50, 10 July 2010 (UTC)

Minor Change[edit]

I've changed wording on a reference to the Greenland settlement, as it seemed grudging in conceeding that there were Viking settlements in Greenland. In fact about 160 have been excavated - there is no possible doubt on the Vikings in Greenland, nor has there ever been. Graemedavis (talk) 23:22, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Also a query about description of L'Anse aux Meadows: "was a Viking settlement which, while admittedly unsuccessful and short-lived" - why unsuccessful? and why admittedly? The building style of L'Anse aux Meadows gave a life of 20-30 years to the buildings, after which they would be evacuated - and this sort of life span and an evacuation is exactly what we see at L'Anse aux Meadows. It was a successful settlement that continued for the full life of the buildings. The model of Greenland is that the settlement would be re-sited a few miles away. Graemedavis (talk) 00:03, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Parks Canada seem less convinced about the longevity of the settlement- and if it is linked at all with the settlement described in the sagas, it seems likely that the Norse Vinlanders were their own worst enemies. Your Greenland alteration was a very good idea though- that was a section I didn't bother to revise, but in retrospect I agree that the old wording was poor. David Trochos (talk) 17:30, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
I agree that L'Anse aux Meadows cannot be equated with the settlement described in the Vinland Sagas - rather Newfoundland corresponds with the Sagas' Markland. But I don't see how L'Anse aux Meadows can be called unsuccessful or even short lived. The model of Iceland and Greenland indicates that the buildings had a natural life of 20-30 years, after which they would be abandoned in an orderly manner - exactly what happened at L'Anse aux Meadows. As an individual settlement this appears to have been a success and to have had its full, natural life. Perhaps the implied point is that we have not yet found a series of settlements in Newfoundland covering a longer date span. Probably we will - this summer's Viking settlement find on Baffin Island demonstrates there is more out there to be found, and archaeological work to date in Newfoundland is very limited. At the moment "admittedly", "unsuccesful" and "short-lived" implies assumptions about Viking settlement which cannot be extrapolated from L'Anse aux Meadows. Graemedavis (talk) 23:38, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
If you can find published sources which demonstrate authoritatively that L'Anse aux Meadows (very likely but not absolutely certain to be Leifsbuðir) was not short-lived, or at least that it was just the first of a succession of sites in the same general area, then by all means change both this article and L'Anse aux Meadows, using them as references. As far as I am aware, however, the finding of what appears to be a single Norse shelter on Baffin Island does not alter the current accepted position, that Norse settlement on Newfoundland was abandoned after a short time. David Trochos (talk) 12:54, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
You do appear to have missed Graemedavis' point, which is that you can't claim it IS short lived either as it fits within the patterns of longer term settlements too. So the article shouldn't be expressing completely certainty in either direction. Mathmo Talk 00:40, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
No, I didn't miss Graeme's point. Remember that Wikipedia has to use reliable sources, and currently the most reliable sources state that L'Anse aux Meadows (which was not simply a farming settlement, but a port) was not occupied for long, and no evidence of other Norse settlements has been found in the area. David Trochos (talk) 12:59, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
The query is as much about the tone of the language used as about the facts they are describing, for the tone implies a view. That L'Anse aux Meadows was occupied for 20-30 years reflects the facts as we understand them. Whether this is "short-lived" or "long-lived" is an interpretation (and both views can be found in published sources), and anyway surely a discussion for the L'Anse aux Meadows article and not for here. The suggestion that L'Anse aux Meadows failed as a settlement is in conflict with archaeolgical agreement that there was an orderly evacuation of the site (and that it endured for the duration of the life of its structures is a success). I suggest a more encyclopaedic phrasing would be that L'Anse aux Meadows was inhabited from X to X (and no more said). But for a focus on the Vinland Map it may be worthwhile to widen the parameters of Viking settlement in North America to take into account the new settlement find on Baffin Island, and other Viking finds on Baffin and Ellesmere. These archaeological finds certainly demonstrate Viking knowledge of the area of America which happens to be shown on the Vinland Map. Indeed if we read the squiggles as Hudson Strait and Bay and the St Lawrence River then the map is showing knowledge of areas which the archaeological record shows Vikings indeed knew about. Graemedavis (talk) 13:53, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
No, all that is needed in an article abut the Vinland Map (which only ill-informed opinion does not recognise as a 20th century fake) is a statement confirming that Norse explorers really did visit North America. Archaeology confirms the saga narrative indicating that the Norse base in Vinland was abandoned (not conquered, not sacked, just abandoned) after a short period of time- your 20 years is an absolute maximum, the paucity of rubbish found suggesting that 10 years would be closer to the truth. David Trochos (talk) 21:20, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
"Only ill-informed opinion does not recognize as a 20th century fake." I don't believe you're in a position to say this, unless you are one of the experts who examined the map. If so, please feel free to stand up and identify yourself. To me (a non-expert), the fact that The New York Times science section still carries stories about the debate, quoting both sides, without arriving at the conclusion that it's bogus bespeaks one thing: the debate still rages. I don't think it's our business here to deem it a fake until there is definitive proof. Regards, MarmadukePercy (talk) 21:31, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
If by "experts who examined the map" you mean people like the late Walter McCrone, or the more recent Raman spectroscopy researchers, then no, clearly I'm not. I have, however, bothered to study rather more of the key texts and expert analyses than most people. The New York Times is not a peer-reviewed academic journal. Scientific American has managed to publish significantly misleading information about the Map (and both have been guilty of basing articles on research which, on close examination, turned out to be of very dubious value). David Trochos (talk) 06:21, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
L'Anse aux Meadows does not in any simple sense confirm the Saga stories. The Sagas give details of six voyages shortly after 1000AD to Vinland, which wherever it may be has a much better climate than Newfoundland, and they describe both exploration and efforts to set up a small settlement there. By contrast L'Anse aux Meadows may be thought of as the Viking equivalent of a motorway service station, a place that lots of ships - far, far more than the six in the Sagas - passed through. There is nothing like L'Anse aux Meadows in the Sagas; Newfoundland isn't Vinland. While archaeology and history both agree that the Vikings reached the American continent the story they tell is markedly different and not easily reconciled. That said I tend to agree that all we need in this article is a statement that archaeology and the Sagas confirm Viking presence in North America in the early eleventh century. What I'm less happy about in the context of this article is value judgements about what the orderly evacuation of L'Anse aux Meadows means. All Viking buildings of the construction of L'Anse aux Meadows were evacuated after a generation as otherwise they fell down. Typically either a new building was erected next door or the settlement moved - the latter most common in areas of scant natural resources where a generation of settlement had depleted them. Whether the evacuation of L'Anse aux Meadows meant an end to settlement in the area or simply a shift to a new site is an open question. I do think this summer's finds on Baffin Island are relevant to the Vinland Map. While we all struggle for certainty in interpreting the squiggles on the map it does appear to show the east coast of Baffin Island and a Viking settlement there (however small) is relevant. A date for the Baffin Island finds would help too (I don't think there's an official publication yet, just press rumours). Issues of the validity of the Vinland Map shouldn't contaminate an assessment of Viking presence in North America (and in the context of this article probably the less said on this topic the better). Whether the map is genuine or fake actually has quite a small influence on our view of Viking presence in N America. Graemedavis (talk) 13:05, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
I think you may be misunderstanding why L'Anse Aux Meadows in mentioned in this article. It's not there to validate the Vinland Map (which marks no settlements in Vinland), but rather to emphasise that the inauthenticity of the Vinland Map does not in any way invalidate the reality of Vinland, and the Norse explorations. At the same time, there is a school of thought which goes far beyond the reliable evidence when discussing the extent of Norse involvement with America, and it's important not to encourage that in an encyclopedia. David Trochos (talk) 19:13, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
The toneof this article strikes me as wrong pretty much throughout. For the purposes of this article the inauthnticity of the Vinland Map has not been established. There are well-informed views that consider the map genuine. There is an insurance company that is sufficiently persuaded by the credentials of academics who say it is genuine to agree a multi-million dollar valuation. Throughout this Wikipedia article condemns the map and then presents the evidence for and against through the filter of certainty that it is a fake. Rather this article should consider the arguments both ways on their merits, and reach a conclusion - which has to include a degree of hedging. The nearest we will get to an objective view of the status of the map is provided by the insurance valuation. My own (published) view is that the map is probably a fake, but spending time looking at the arguments for and against does not produce certainty. Graemedavis (talk) 23:44, 30 September 2009 (UTC)
In reality, this article does "consider the arguments both ways on their merits"- as noted above in "A Worrying Thought", there is no reliable evidence for authenticity left. Back in 1996 when that insurance valuation was reported (incidentally, there is no evidence that it actually formed the basis of an insurance policy; the Yale Beinecke Library is not liable to pay anybody compensation if the Vinland Map is destroyed) the PIXE evidence, apparently showing that the damning anatase evidence was wrong, was considered reliable. However, re-testing by Walter McCrone with new samples, re-analysis at several of the same points studied by PIXE using Raman spectroscopy, and, most recently, detailed comparative study of the PIXE report itself, have shown that the PIXE evidence, the pillar on which the case for authenticity had stood since 1985, is fatally flawed. Rene Larsen may publish details of the claims he made in Copenhagen this summer, and they may provide new evidence for authenticity, as they work from the assumption that the anatase is present, but not necessarily a manufactured product. Unfortunately, the information we already have from his conference presentation and interviews suggests that, not being a mineralogist, he has simply misunderstood the differences between natural and manufactured anatase. David Trochos (talk) 07:20, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

An even more worrying thought... (to paraphrase a section above)[edit]

I've got the impression that in the past history of the editing of this article (from reading over the talk page) there was a suitable balance between those who believed the map to be fake (User:David Trochos)and those who believe the evidence shows it is genuine. But in recent times (this year?) I believe the balance of editing has swung way in favor of those who believe it to be a fake. The lead sentence is a blatant example of this, called it an "imitation" (i.e. fake). Anybody who reads this article (either just superficially the first paragraph, or all the way through to the end) will be left with the false impression that this was an open and shut case in which the map was found to be a forgery. Mathmo Talk 01:10, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

But that's what the "worrying thought" above was about. Until the publication of Dr Larsen's paper, or some other academic research, there is no firm evidence left for authenticity- it's all been shown to be mistaken, as you would find if you followed up all the references. David Trochos (talk) 17:50, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
here is the quickest and shortest summary I can make: assumption of innocence is the basis of the english legal system, and I feel the same here. Mathmo Talk 22:55, 20 September 2009 (UTC)
I think what the previous user is saying is that there's no solid proof either way right now. The map isn't proven to be a fake, or at least hasn't been deemed so by its owner, and it hasn't been deemed legitimate either, the way I understand it. I do think the piece should reflect that, so I agree. MarmadukePercy (talk) 00:14, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Continuing the comparison with the legal system- if the matter came to court, the evidence presently available would be sufficient to prove "beyond reasonable doubt" that the Vinland Map is a fake. Larsen's research, when it becomes available, might be grounds for an appeal, but until then, unless you can find published evidence for authenticity which has not been shown to be mistaken, then that verdict (accepted by experts on Norse America for over 40 years) must stand. David Trochos (talk) 07:55, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
To extend the analogy to the legal system, and to encyclopedias, you're neither judge nor jury. You're simply the recorder. Wikipedia isn't in the business of rendering a final judgment. It's in the business of recording the facts as we see them – which usually fall into some shade of grey. Which is what this piece should reflect. MarmadukePercy (talk) 08:08, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Although you seem anxious to deem this instrument a fake, The New York Times calls it "the world's most contested piece of parchment." [4] That's good enough for me. This piece should reflect the fact that there is no 'verdict (accepted by experts on Norse America).' if there were, I doubt The Times would call it 'contested.' This battle has raged since the map was discovered. [5] Wikipedia owes it to its readers to present both sides – not to declare a winner, which you seem anxious to do. Regards, MarmadukePercy (talk) 08:15, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
I repeat, if anybody can find published evidence for authenticity which has not been shown to be mistaken (or a lie by Laurence Witten, whose 1958-9 report on the Map turns out to be the origin of a surprising amount of information in the Skelton book) then obviously it should be included, and the tone of the article changed accordingly. Meanwhile, there may not be a verdict accepted by journalists, but see my comment on Magnus Magnusson up near the top of this page: as a document of Norse exploration in America the Vinland Map hit the rocks almost as soon as it was launched. David Trochos (talk) 17:29, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
While I understand your point about scholars choosing to ignore the Vinland map as a resource, that's not quite the same thing as declaring it a fake. Journalists aren't in the business of making a determination either way: they're simply charged with trying to record both sides. The Times has pointed up comments both for the map's authenticity and for its possible fraudulence. I guess what I'd like to see, if this piece is going to say the map is phony – or at least lean that way – is a quote from an acknowledged scholar in the field claiming the map is not genuine. Not just ignoring it, but actually declaring it bogus. Regards, MarmadukePercy (talk) 18:45, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
OK- the logical choice would be Magnusson, I suppose, as he was co-author of one of the most respected translations of the Vinland Sagas (years before the anatase discovery), and also later wrote about the Vinland Map specifically as a forgery. David Trochos (talk) 21:47, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Cahill edits[edit]

I don't do this very often, but I think it's worth explaining my reasons for not restoring some material from Thomas A. Cahill's recent edits: The first basic problem is that under Wikipedia's policy on reliable sources, the current view on the 1985 PIXE tests of the map (published in 1987) now rests with the paper by Towe et al. (2008) which added further evidence, based on the work of later PIXE analysts, to show that the 1985 tests were mistaken in their "headline" claim that the Vinland Map ink contains only 0.0062% titanium. The reference by Thomas A. Cahill to elemental standards and quality assurance is irrelevant, because the evidence shows that somehow, perhaps due to a simple decimal point error, the figures are consistently wrong.

Although the figures in the 1987 report are internally consistent, I have modified Thomas's claims about the concentrations of zinc and potassium in the ink, because, as I noted, zinc is only more concentrated in the inked samples than in adjacent bare parchment in a minority of cases; the potassium concentration in a transect across a line is "much higher" only because elements such as potassium are present in relatively high concentrations throughout the map, mostly in the bare parchment- whereas the titanium concentration was below the minimum detectable limit for the apparatus in the vast majority of bare parchment samples. Unfortunately, the 1987 report did not include potassium figures for the 33 paired samples which form the core of the analysis.

The 2008 paper by Towe et al. did not contest the data of the 2008 paper by Garmon Harbottle, but his interpretation of the data, which, as noted in the article, was based on misunderstandings.

The 1995 edition of the Yale book by Skelton et al. did not seriously address the controversy, making little reference to the scores of articles in academic journals across various disciplines which had exposed weaknesses in the case for authenticity (a bibliography of articles up to about 1970 appears in the Proceedings of the Vinland Map Conference, 1971). The story of how the 1974 analyst Walter McCrone, and Smithsonian expert Kenneth Towe, only discovered the existence of the 1995 book after they were invited to the launch (which was promoted as a "conference") has been told in more than one publication. David Trochos (talk) 23:18, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

McCrone[edit]

I followed this story closely about ten years ago, even going to the extent of exchanging a few emails with Walter McCrone. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and he very kindly sent me a copy of a report on his research on the map.

I left this story at a time before any of the Cahill results had been refuted. I wrote Cahill a note suggesting that he and McCrone should work together to try to understand the discrepancy. He also was very kind to reply to me, but my sense of it was that he thought he had done all he could and that his results were correct.

I suppose that McCrone died before the information came out that refuted Cahill's results. That's too bad, I would like to have seen him live to see his results vindicated.

Anyway, congratulations to all the people that worked on this article. It was excellent.

Actually, Walter McCrone died just weeks after the publication of the Raman spectroscopy results by Brown and Clark in 2002- those by themselves were quite enough to demonstrate that the 1985 results had greatly understated the quantity of titaniuum-based minerals in the ink, and were methodologically strong enough to withstand ill-conceived claims from the PIXE proponents about inadequate sampling. David Trochos (talk) 05:36, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

It is very well known because of the marketing campaign which accompanied its revelation to the public as a "genuine" pre-Columbian map in 1965.[edit]

The term marketing campaign seems more hostile than necessary. I don't know why the term publicity campaign could not be used. It would also seem to be as accurate to say that the map is well known because if genuine it would cause revolutions in thinking in the history of the Americas, cartography, navigation, and printing. It would also seem accurate to say that the map is well known because of the controversy over its authenticity.

If the term marketing campaign is desired, couldn't the term marketing campaign for a book be used to clarify what was being marketed? (fotoguzzi) 76.105.160.69 (talk) 11:32, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Thing is, the book and the map were launched jointly- before the book was published, the Map was effectively unknown- even among scholars it was little more than a rumour. The marketing campaign served both to sell the book and to drive up the apparent value (as measured by insurers) of the map. David Trochos (talk) 18:12, 16 March 2010 (UTC)
It does not seem uncommon to me that information would be embargoed before an announcement. I would expect that there are examples of books or catalogues being released in conjunction with a paper. If forty-some years later, the conclusions of a book or paper were accepted by all, I do believe that the original announcement would be considered a publicity campaign and not a marketing campaign. The Vinland article, while well done, smacks of more of a personal research project than a dry summary of secondary sources that the wikipedia seems to strive for. If the simultaneous printing of a book about a supposedly scientific subject is so unusual as to a) deserve to be noted and b) be called a marketing campaign, I hope that you will be vigilant in seeking all other such instances in wikipedia science articles and making sure that they are called the same thing. Fotoguzzi (talk) 06:14, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
The best way to get an idea of the extent to which it was a marketing campaign is to read Kirsten Seaver's "Maps, Myths and Men" (and strident though her tone may seem, the 2008 official history of Yale University Press, "A World of Letters" by Nicholas Basbanes, makes it clear that the whole Vinland Map project was conceived very much in commercial terms). David Trochos (talk) 18:37, 20 March 2010 (UTC)
As it stands this sentence is simply wrong. There is an argument that the map became well known in the 1960s because of a "marketing campaign" - but there is not an argument that it is well known today because of a 1960s "marketing campaign". Rather it is well known today through countless reproductions and through the great volume of debate on its authenticity. I suppose it would be better to say something to the effect that the VM "initially became well known because of a marketing campaign and has subsequently remained well known through frequent reproduction and the extensive debates around its authenticity". But I think this just shows up another level of problems with the statement. I do not see any argument for cause and effect between the original "marketing campaign" (if indeed this is a fair description - it is a highly charged term) and the map becoming well known - rather the VM became well known simply because if it is what it appears to be it is one of the most exciting early documents about America. Graemedavis (talk) 23:30, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Anybody following this discussion is welcome to conduct a survey to find out how many of the other pre-Columbian maps showing Vinland are well-known to non-specialists.David Trochos (talk) 08:25, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this map is very well known either. :) But yes, it's certainly the most well known. I think the word "marketing" should be changed to "publicity" though, because marketing is done for things that you intend to produce and sell. I'll change it. --OpenFuture (talk) 09:38, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Such a survey would of course be original research and therefore not appropriate for Wikipedia. Changing "marketing" to "publicity" is a very small step in the right direction, but it remains the case that the present fame of the map is not due to 1960s marketing or publicity but because every few years the map comes to public attention as the fake/genuine argument ebbs and flows. This Wikipedia article gives the highly misleading impression that that argument is now solved. It isn't. Larsen's study is the most recent, it is a substantial piece of work, it has academic backing, and it has come out with the statement "no evidence of forgery". However strongly some disagree with this view, within the scope of an encyclopaedia article it has to be reported without bias. The tone of "Larsen says X but he is wrong" is out of order as the evaluation is original research. Graemedavis (talk) 22:38, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
The formal report of Larsen's presentation in Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung does NOT show the features claimed in this Wikipedia article. Rather this is someone's very critical interpretation of Larsen's presentation, and as it is not supported by a reference appears to be original research (and therefore it should not be here). The placing of the reference to Seaver as a contrary view within a discussion of Larsen is a literary device designed to discredit Larsen, and is an example of a device which should not be used in an encyclopaedia (Seaver is not responding to Larsen). The source given for Kenneth Towe's critical comments appears to be a Scientific American article - but on examination it is found that Kenneth Towe did not write this article. Rather Brendan Borrell did - and Borrell does not advance the view attributed. The real source is a reader comment posted by Kenneth Towe in an on-line thread discussing Borrell's article, and it is part of quite a long and lively debate. I don't think Wikipedia usually considers such informal discussion to be a source of encyclopaedic fact - but if it does then there are a host of views in this thread to be considered by this Wikipedia article. At the moment Larsen has the last word, a state of affairs that continues until someone publishes a response. More generally this Wikipedia article fails to demonstrate the unresolved conflict between the science/anatase argument ("the map is a forgery and anyone who thinks otherwise is misinformed") and the humanities/conservation argument ("no signs of forgery"). Therefore as it stands this Wikipedia article does not reflect the balance of published accounts. For the record my own (published) view is that the VM is most probably a forgery, but the circumstance where different disciplines are yielding conflicting results should give us all pause, and Wikipedia should reflect the debate which is taking place. Finally I note that this article lacks basic courtesy in its treatment of Larsen. He is an authority who has led a team in a multi-year study, and whether his views come in time to be accepted or rejected they should be treated with respect. I recommend deletion of the present paragraph "Conservation" and replacement with a (brief) statement setting out what Larsen has proposed. Anything else is original research. Graemedavis (talk) 23:30, 19 May 2010 (UTC)
Correction re the Brendan Borrell article: Towe's basic criticism of Larsen's failure to distinguish the form of the Binnenthal anatase crystals is a quotation from him within the body of the article. Also "no signs of forgery" is not "the humanities/conservation argument", it is the Larsen argument; it would probably be possible to swamp this article with valid "humanities" arguments against authenticity which have never been refuted, from academic publications in the 1960s. Also, the placing of the Seaver reference was not "designed to discredit Larsen", but rather showed Larsen's work confirming what Seaver, whose work was then very recently published, had not been able to ascertain with confidence. David Trochos (talk) 08:25, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Borrell's magazine article is an overview piece and presents arguments both ways. If Borrell is to be cited then his hedging should be made clear, not a view point from him which goes in just one direction. The basic point remains that Larsen's argument is the most recent substantive result and should be reported in a way which gives it the field - whatever any of us think about his views that is the present position. The Seaver reference should not be where it is, whatever the intention was (and if the Seaver reference is intended to support Larsen this certainly doesn't come across in the wording). The whole of this article has a most distasteful problem of tone, which comes to a head in its niggardly treatment of Larsen. It would be possible to gloss the whole article as it stands as "Wikipedia has proved to Wikipedia's satisfaction that the Vinland Map is a fake and anyone who disagrees is a bad scholar". In fact we do not yet have a definitive result on the genuine/fake question, even if chemists think we do. Graemedavis (talk) 13:46, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the comments by Graemedavis. This piece reads more like an op-ed piece than a balanced scholarly view, in my view. Much of the reason the map remains well-known is that debate has swirled around it for decades, with no apparent resolution. That has little to do with a purported 'marketing campaign.' I agree that the wikipedia piece should present both sides of the evidence. As it stands now, it reads more like someone discrediting anyone who believes the map might be genuine. I believe the map is likely a forgery but don't have the skills to know. It is simply a hunch. Neverthless, I believe this piece should give a more balanced portrayal of the pro's and con's than it does now. MarmadukePercy (talk) 00:02, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
This seems to be going the same sort of way as discussion on the Newport Tower (Rhode Island). The problem discussed there is slightly different (from OpenFuture: "this is a problem in all pseudo-history and pseudo-archaeology, almost all texts produced are produced by crackpots with weird theories. This makes the majority view look like just one theory amongst many, even though it isn't") but the principle is similar. Simply reiterating the "canonical" view of the Vinland Map story to refute inaccurate recent publications by otherwise well-respected researchers just clutters up journal correspondence columns without any real impact on public perception. There is actually a basic failure of the peer-review process at the heart of all this, and perhaps the next major study of the Vinland Map should focus on that. David Trochos (talk) 05:49, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think this Wikipedia article can concern itself with the rights and wrongs of the academic peer review process. Larsen has a sufficiently high professional status for a report of his views to be a required part of this article - in the end his is a multi-person, multi-year study supported by a reputable body. Larsen cannot be regarded as a crackpot with a weird theory, rather as an academic who has come up with an awkward and inconvenient result and reported what he has found, which surely is what we are all supposed to do. And his views have to be stated as they are - without including within them a statement of Seaver's earlier view (which isn't a reply to Larsen - for all we know he might now be convinced Larsen is right) or a reference to an unrefereed on-line "comment" posting from Towe. The tone of criticism of Larsen is distasteful. He is not a chemist - my personal view is that he shouldn't have been drawn on the anatase issue but simply said it is up to the scientists to square it with his findings. (This comment in brackets as it probably counts as original research - it is of course logically possible to reconcile a mediaeval map and synthetic anatase in the ink - when asked in a recent (informal) interview I had an informal stab at just this: http://www.medievalists.net/2009/12/23/interview-with-graeme-davis/ Maybe the lasting value of Larsen's work is that it will encourage us to ask different questions about the map).14:36, 21 May 2010 (UTC) Graemedavis (talk) 14:37, 21 May 2010 (UTC)
That last sentence is somewhat ironic, as it can be argued that the greatest problem with Larsen's most recent work has been his tendency to answer questions which did not need to be asked, while ignoring questions asked decades ago and still unanswered. If I take a sheet of 19th-century paper and write something on it with a 20th-century pen (which I could easily do in a couple of minutes if I didn't mind defacing a book in my library) the result is still a 21st century artifact, no matter how much analysis is done to show that the paper and the ink are genuinely of earlier periods. David Trochos (talk) 07:57, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
Again this counts as original research - I'm not aware of an appropriate published source for this view (ie published post-Larsen). It may be asserted that Larsen's recent work answers precisely the questions which needed to be asked while ignoring those questions most appropriately ignored (and no I can't source this view, just as I don't think you can source the contrary view). Wikipedia surely has to report what Larsen sets out without engaging in an original research evaluation of his views. However strongly some may wish to disagree with him he has come out with the "no evidence of forgery" view. We await a published response from someone in broadly his discipline (a manuscript conservator or similar) to confirm or refute his view from the basis of this discipline. A reiteration by chemists that there is synthetic anatase present is not actually an adequate response. Indeed it could be argued that the ball is in the court of the chemists to find a way to explain how this is present on a manuscript which shows no evidence of forgery. Of course none of this is the business of an encyclopaedia which surely should just be reporting without bias or interpretation the views that are out there. In passing to complete your parallel, if what you write on your nineteenth century paper is a copy of a manuscript you have found of an otherwise unknown poem by Lord Byron and you then destroy the original then your copy has value as the sole record of the poem. There are plenty of texts which we know today only from transcripts, and there are even some where the transcript was once thought to be the original. Graemedavis (talk) 22:38, 22 May 2010 (UTC)
OK, here's the problem. I can, probably some time in the next few days, rewrite the article to report Larsen more "neutrally"- but the cost is, for pretty much every point he makes in his report, I will include, in its proper place in the article, the equally valid research he ignored. What you mistake for "original research" is actually my knowledge of the existing published research. On the Byron poem comparison, for example, you should bear in mind that the first objectors to the Vinland Map, before scientists even got a good look at it, were experts on the history of cartography. Some of their objections were later shown to have been based on misunderstandings- but by no means all. David Trochos (talk) 19:03, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
"Cost"? :-) --OpenFuture (talk) 19:46, 24 May 2010 (UTC)
(Shifting this left) This is an encyclopaedia, not a PhD thesis. There should be a rough equality between the attention the ideas have received and the space they get here. No it is not appropiate to balance a well reported view with a much less well reported, earlier or obsure contrary view. The very act of the prioritising of such views over those well reported quickly becomes original research. Larsen has said what he has said, and this article has to report it fairly and without bias. To date there is no authoritative, published response to his ideas and so (for the moment) he has the last word. A more general point is that the balance of this article is wrong. The anatase issue is a very major objection to the map being genuine, but many of the other objections presented here as if they are convincing are not. For example the VM overlaid over Greenland is an example of misleading evidence - it is very easy with genuine mappae mundae to find largely unknown bits that will overlay over a map on one projection or another. The view that should come through in this article is that while the VM is probably fake there is enough about it (and enough serious scholars) to give us pause. Until more tests are done (on the contaminants for example) or more documents come to light (say Luka Jelic's sources in the Vatican archives, or information about the manuscript pre-Ferrajoli) or there is some major re-assessment (anything from lab contamination causing false anatase results to a way of explaining how what looks like synthetic anatase may be mediaeval) then we don't know for sure what to make of the Vinland Map. Graemedavis (talk) 10:19, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
"There should be a rough equality between the attention the ideas have received and the space they get here."? Never mind the scholarship, just report the views which have the most effective PR campaigns! There only appears to be "no authoritative, published response" to Larsen's ideas because there is nothing to respond to- when I referred to "research he ignored" I meant not only research which raised problems he failed to solve, but also research which anticipated individual findings of his report by decades.
As for your objection to the VM laid over Greenland- there you are indulging in original research yorself, and bad original research at that. The accuracy of the VM Greenland worried Skelton, and was the very first objection raised by the very first major historian of cartography to be allowed an independent view of the Map (Eva Taylor, back in about 1963)- and it was echoed by most of her peers in Britain and Scandinavia when the Map was revealed to the world. Just because you aren't well aware of that today, doesn't mean it wasn't widely reported within weeks of the Map's unveiling. David Trochos (talk) 18:34, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Never mind the scholarship - that's precisely the issue; an encyclopaedia cannot in any exact sense judge the merits of scholarship. It can distinguish between notable and non-notable sources (and Wikipedia has extensive policies on this) but that's about it. Larsen is notable, his Conservatory is notable, his project is notable. The common sense check is that he is an academically qualified individual working for a highly reputable organisation and conducting a multi-year, multi-person, funded research project. Many hundreds (thousands?) of man-hours of time from academic specialists have gone into a project which has as a key finding that there is no evidence of forgery. As writers of an encyclopaedia article we cannot judge this research - we can only report it. Nor can we carry out a clandestine judgment by juxtaposing Larsen with earlier views that he ignores (perhaps with good reason) or with statements from earlier writers which may implicitly contradict Larsen (the point is that because they are earlier they are not a response to Larsen). Larsen has reported what he must know are contentious views. He has faced quite a bit of criticism as a result. It appears that he has done what we should all do and reported his findings - he hasn't "modified" them to make them acceptable, or kept quiet about a problematic issue. So the chemists have told the world that they are (now) sure there is synthetic anatase in the ink, but the techniques they use are too specialised for most of us to understand. Now a conservator has told the world that there is no evidence of forgery, but the techniques conservators use are too specialised for most of us to understand. The two expert views are incompatible. Something is of course wrong. But all an encyclopaedia can do is report what is published. By the way I am reasonably informed on the history of the debates around the Vinland Map, and as you know I personally think it is most probably a fake. Notwithstanding there are aspects about it from disciplines that I know something about that create uncertainty. Additionally this is the map that was declared a fake in July 2002 (Brown and Clark) and genuine in August 2002 (Donahue) - hardly a settled view. Among the scientists the case against was made by McCrone (1976) and the case for for by Cahill (1987); Towe looked at both McCrone and Cahill and declared for Cahill (1990). Tempers have been lively - I'm thinking of McCrone turning up to a 1996 symposium at Yale that he wasn't registered to be at and distributing text of a paper he would have liked to give. This is a publicity stunt, not reasoned academe. In a nutshell Wikipedia has to report Larsen's views WITHOUT INTERPRETING THEM. Graemedavis (talk) 23:42, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
But you have interpreted them yourself, and you have interpreted them in the way that was very probably intended by the PR effort. Re-read the material and see if Larsen really really does say at any point "there is no evidence of forgery". That is exactly the sort of trap that a good encyclopaedia should be helping its readers to avoid. David Trochos (talk) 05:52, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
(another left shift) This is a discussion thread, so I think there is some freedom for our interpretation. The issue is much bigger than just Larsen. This article reads as if the authoritative decision has been made by the great scientists and that there is now no debate among those who have two brain cells to rub together. In fact this is not the case. Take the following:
CONTEXT. We have proof the Vikings visited N America and Greenland, pretty much the parts shown on the VM. And L'Anse aux Meadows was discovered after the VM. Context suggests PROBABLY GENUINE.
MATERIALS. Radio Carbon gives a mediaeval date for the parchment - and the map was known before the Radion Carbon technique. However the ink appears to be C20th synthetic (McCrone and Towe argue this, though disputed by Cahill and Olim). Materials suggest PROBABLY FAKE.
STYLE: Cartography, calligraphy, language. Every area here is hotly debated. I don't think it is possible to get a simple answer. Larsen has perhaps done more than most to offer a response in this difficult area and the response is no evidence of a forgery (presumably this is a journalist's paraphrase of Larsen, but it seems a fair paraphrase and I don't think Larsen has disputed it). My personal cogitations have led me to feel "the jury is out" (and that is a quote!) NO CLEAR ANSWER.
PROVENANCE. Contextualised within the TR and SH. Where it was before Ferrajoli remains a mystery. Issues around its presentation to the world (eg a book dealer through whose hands it passed "confessed" years later to telling lies). This is of course the big problem - we just don't have the context we need. NO CLEAR ANSWER.
FORGER. If it is a forgery it is very hard to see who did it or why. It needs a high level of skills to produce something like this - and it is odd that a forger didn't go for a more conventional style for a mappa mundae. Luka Jelic surely couldn't have done it. Josef Fischer I find highly implausible. PROBABLY GENUINE.
STRONG VIEWS. People are bothered by the outcome of this debate. There was a riot in Newhaven when it was first declared genuine (ie people didn't want it to be genuine). We've had McCrone's stunt at a Yale conference, which is the best way I can think of for him to throw doubt on his own findings. The book dealer's "confession" (Witten) does not read as a voluntary confession. There is a lot of emotion tied up in proving the map false and a lot of money tied up with proving it genuine. Result TRUTH MAY BE OBSCURED BY RESEARCHER BIAS.
This sense of a balanced debate which has not yet produced a conclusion doesn't come through in the article. It takes as its basis that the anatase argument of McCrone is correct and criticises every opposing view (and implicitly criticises the scholars also). It needs a root and branch re-write to reflect the balance of published views on the map. Graemedavis (talk) 19:07, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
From the viewpoint of somebody like Kirsten Seaver, who has studied and, more importantly written a detailed an analysis of a large percentage of the available evidence (both published and private) your conclusion is exactly wrong. The concept that the anatase is the only significant evidence of forgery, and that there is a disagreement between science and the humanities, is clearly shown by Seaver in her 480 pages to be a serious misconception- and for her, one of the most significant aspects of the Vinland Map story is how that misconception came about and continues to be exploited. By the way, one of my objections to Larsen's 2009 piece is the way he creates "straw man" arguments out of Seaver's work. Perhaps slightly less by the way, another flaw in your original research- the Vinland Map first surfaced shortly AFTER radiocarbon dating became famous for its successes at Stonehenge and Great Zimbabwe. David Trochos (talk) 19:50, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
I find this discussion increasingly troublesome, as it strays, in my opinion, from the true purpose of what an encyclopedia should be about – or perhaps, better said, illuminates its purpose. I agree with Graemedavis that the thrust of this piece should be to examine carefully the tangle of arguments on both sides and to elucidate them as best possible. This is a complicated affair, with no clear answers. The article, as now written, seems to presume an outcome. That is not the purpose of an encyclopedia, nor is handicapping all the combatants. This piece needs a substantial rewrite. MarmadukePercy (talk) 20:20, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
There is some strange logic here. That Vikings explored North America does *not* lend credibility to the map. If we knew for sure that the did not explore it, that would mean the map is fake, that we know they did it only means that it can be genuine, not that it probably is genuine.
The unusual style is also not an argument for it being genuine. I've seen that logic applied to for example the Kensington runestone. That it is "unique" and don't look like the genuine article is somehow taken as an argument for it being genuine, especially when as in the case the uniqueness is tied to simplicity. A map in a more conventional style would have been harder to make. None of these are arguments against, but also not arguments for, ending up in a more "no clear answer" position all in all. --OpenFuture (talk) 20:47, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
It should be said at this point that such broad-brush considerations did not play a significant part in the academic debate about the Map anyway. The focus was always on specific issues which could be identified as anachronistic or inconsistent- and very probably a large part of the current problem is that the identification of these problems was done by specialists, and published in specialist journals across multiple disciplines. The 1995 edition of "The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation" should have been the place to summarise these specialist contributions together, but that's not what happened .... David Trochos (talk) 05:59, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
The intention of my list is simply to set out that there are more sorts of arguments to be covered and different weightings for them than appear at present in this article. Of course every point can be debated (for example, okay, I see from Wikipedia (no less!) that the Carbon-14 dating technique was discovered in 1949 which is indeed before the map was presented to the world, but I note that the contaminants on the map (and its presumed forgery date if it is a forgery) are well before 1949 - so it remains correct that the map was produced on a bit of parchment of the right date before the technique existed to date the parchment. And yes I know that this might be no-more than saying that a manuscript known to be of the correct date was selected by a forger as a context, but... the argument quickly becomes lengthy and without a provable conclusion). Similarly the discovery of the Vikings at L'Anse aux Medows (and most recently now on Baffin Island) does provide an archaeological context which gives some sort of support to the map, however anyone wants to express this. Seaver's work needs very serious consideration by this article, but so too does Larsen's. This article has to reflect what's out there. I agree that "The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation" should have provided some form of bringing together of specialist views and some form of synthesis, but it didn't, and we are left with muddle. I don't see how an encyclopaedia can do any more than report this position. Graemedavis (talk) 15:02, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "the contaminants on the map ... are well before 1949". On the contrary, one of the most worrying features of the map is that it is soaked with a chemical including fallout from 1950s nuclear testing, which could only have been done between about 1954 and early 1957. David Trochos (talk) 18:38, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
There is a website WebExhibits which features the Vinland Map: http://www.webexhibits.org/vinland/cartographic.html The idea of the site is to use the Vinland Map as a way of thinking about the nature of evidence, as a teaching tool designed mainly for school children. While it is perfectly easy to criticise their presentation of the Vinland Map, it does have a key strength in that it conveys the academic uncertainty as reflected in the published materials. It seems to me that this is a far fairer over-view of the ideas that are out there than this present Wikipedia article. Graemedavis (talk) 15:02, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
"Similarly the discovery of the Vikings at L'Anse aux Medows (and most recently now on Baffin Island) does provide an archaeological context which gives some sort of support to the map" - No it doesn't, sorry. That's wishful thinking. The possibility that someone could have made a map like the Vinland map is not support for it to be genuine. The question is not "could it have been made in the 15th century", the question is "was it made in the 15th century".
The website is great. :)--OpenFuture (talk) 15:40, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
The website is good, but not great- it was created shortly before Seaver's book was published, and never made it beyond the Beta stage. David Trochos (talk) 18:38, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps a way forward would be to agree the sources that should be reflected by this Wikipedia article. For example as far as Larsen's contribution is concerned it seems to me that his (Reuters) press release and contribution to Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung are key - both I think acceptable Wikipedia sources. The views he sets out should be presented without comment from Wikipedia editors. Brendan Borrell's "Scientific American" article is a reasonable secondary source, but only the article, not the discussion that follows (Borrell offers an overview of the issues around the Vinland Map contextualising Larsen). I'm not sure that there is any other source right now. Larsen cannot be "answered" by publications that pre-date Larsen or web discussion postings or the views of Wikipedia editors (all such would be original research). A clean up of the presentation of the Larsen materials would be a good starting point to improve this article. The overall bias of this article is more problematic, but perhaps the same concept might be applied section-by-section. Graemedavis (talk) 13:37, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
To "agree the sources that should be reflected by this Wikipedia article" it will be really helpful if the editors involved in the discussion have read and reflected on them. David Trochos (talk) 19:22, 1 June 2010 (UTC)
This goes to the heart of the problem as it suggests some sort of editorial decision on the appropriacy or otherwise of sources as a result of a qualitative editorial view on their content. Rather I see the the Wikipedia process as more quantitative - if an item is notable (and the guidelines are extensive) it both can and should be included. The same applies for a response - and I don't think there is yet a notable response to Larsen. Larsen should be reported by a synthesis of what he says. Graemedavis (talk) 16:49, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

began finding evidence that the map was a fake[edit]

This statement is factually wrong as it pre-judges the still-on-going debate. As it stands it means that this Wikipedia article is calling the map a fake. Perhaps "began to suspect that it might be a fake". Graemedavis (talk) 22:46, 22 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't believe this to be fake[edit]

If it were fake, then the culprit must have had a blank piece of pargement which was about 500 years old, and that is simply not possible. Papers that old are only preserved to this day because they have writing on them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.162.73.46 (talk) 04:35, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

Not so- very many old books have at least a couple of blank leaves in them (usually at the beginning and end), and as noted in the article, it is entirely possible that the Vinland Map is drawn on two separate half-sheets of parchment, not a single sheet which has split. David Trochos (talk) 06:57, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I read a German book about popular misunderstandings and fakes in history, called "Niemand hat Columbus ausgelacht" and in the chapter about the Vinland Map, the author suggests somebody had an old map and added Grreenland, Vinland and the islands in the east (Japan?) as a joke sometimes between 1923 (ink!) and 1957. It seems to be rather common that the wrong mixture of ink, paint etc leads to the discovery of a fake, even if the other materials (wood, canvas, paper) are authentic. -- 87.188.229.155 (talk) 22:06, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

VINLAND MAP IS FAKE![edit]

WIKIPEDIA REMOVES IT PLEASE FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.168.79.152 (talk) 18:16, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Cabot's landing[edit]

A bit tangential, but this seems for now to be the best place to address the editing comment "I don't understand how your comment applies to the edit. It's a fact of history that Cabot landed on the island NFL, not the continental mainland." For some years, this article has carried the assertion that the proven Norse voyages to Vinland predate "John Cabot's landing on the North American continental mainland in 1497". This has recently, but in my view incorrectly, been changed to refer to a landing on Newfoundland, with the above reason given for reverting after I changed it back on the peculiar grounds that "Newfoundland is further north than Bordeaux". The "facts of history" were changed somwehat in 1956 when the text John Day's letter of about December 1497 to "the Lord Grand Admiral" (which would be Columbus) was published, after it had been found in Spain's Archivo General de Simancas.

Day states that Cabot landed at the first place he found after his 35-day voyage, then spent a month sailing along the coastline (without further landings) after turning back towards Europe. The southernmost point mentioned, the south tip of the "Island of the Seven Cities" is on the latitude of "Bordeaux River" (45.4 degrees N), which poses two problems- it's too far south for Newfoundland, but not far enough south for Cape Sable. Further confusion is added by the detail that on his return to Europe he mistakenly landed in Brittany (which IS on the latitude of central Newfoundland) rather than England or Ireland (he crossed from what he thought was the latitude of Dursey Head 51.6 degrees N), suggesting that faulty equipment may have been telling him he was further north than he really was throughout the voyage.

To cut a long story short, although Newfoundland remains the "official" site of the landing, the latitudes and the long easterly cruise along the coast AFTER the landing suggest a point in Nova Scotia as more likely. I'm going to try to find a compromise wording. David Trochos (talk) 06:38, 28 July 2011 (UTC)

Academic reviews in 1965[edit]

The article claims that in 1965 "many academic reviewers of the book took the opportunity to point out evidence that the Map was likely to be a fake", and that this is what led to the 1966 Vinland Map Conference. But how many published academic reviews from 1965-66 actually expressed the view that the map was "likely to be a fake"? It is one thing to express reservations and call for further research (as many writers did) and another to denounce the map as a probable forgery (which very few did). 194.105.165.178 (talk) 13:23, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

OK, I've made a first attempt at rewording the sentence. David Trochos (talk) 06:43, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It's a good rewording, resolves the problem 194.105.165.178 (talk) 15:46, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Provenance[edit]

   The provenance of the map is so highly suspect that consideration may be a waste of time:

1. If the original owner of the volume (whose identifying marks were removed) had known that it owned a map of great significance, this would have been revealed, so the original owner did not know of the map (if it existed in the volume), or somehow did not know its significance and was never informed by any expert observer. So we may conclude that the original owner could not have informed the thief of the parchment/map of its significance. 2. Therefore either the thief was informed by an expert in the map significance, or merely stole the parchment acquired by an expert forger. 3. Therefore a highly dishonest expert was involved at the time of theft of the parchment/map (or later produced a forgery). This is the essential conclusion on provenance of this item. 4. It is most likely that an honest expert would find a map of the highest importance than a dishonest one, and least likely that a highly dishonest expert would forge a map of lesser significance. 5. A highly dishonest expert need not to wait until a genuine article is found to produce something salable to a less expert buyer. 6. If the map were genuine, a highly dishonest expert could have purchased it at a favorable price from a non-expert unaware of its significance, much more easily than he could produce a forgery.

So reasoning on the provenance really establishes such a low probability on any claim of authenticity, that the analytical evidence of forgery should be taken as conclusive. It appears that the amount of effort expended in analyzing and reporting on this item has given those involved a motive for keeping it in the public view by failing to quite accept their own evidence that it is not worth public consideration. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jbarth2 (talkcontribs) 15:50, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Possible join of two single leaves - original research?[edit]

The article includes a rather large illustration showing how damage at the foot of the map could have been created deliberately, with the aim of disguising the join between two parchment leaves of different sizes. While the suggestion is certainly ingenious and may well be correct, I haven't been able to find any reliable source that mentions this possibility. Since Wikipedia isn't the proper venue for advancing personal theories, I really think that the image needs some sort of reference to back it up. 82.132.214.163 (talk) 15:35, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

I concur that that illustration, which has been an embarrassing mainstay of this article for years, constitutes WP:Original Research. If the author wants to write a webpage about such a theory and then add it as an External Link, I'm in favor of keeping the EL if it is interesting, or at least thoughtful. However, it doesn't merit inclusion in the body as an established fact. HuMcCulloch (talk) 13:38, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Vinland Map and the Voynich Manuscript[edit]

Not suggesting a direct connection - but the vellum of the Voynich Manuscript is also dated to the same period as that of the Vinland Map: and they are both now at Yale (what is its buying policy?). Jackiespeel (talk) 21:56, 9 January 2013 (UTC)

deleted a blog about this as possibly promotional. This is not a venue for discussion of possible ideas, we need reliable sources discussing any such connection - see WP:RS and WP:VERIFY. Dougweller (talk) 16:02, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Newfoundland/Labrador[edit]

Looking at the two prominent 'water' features of the Vinland map it seems to be it resembles Lake Melville to the north and Sandwich bay to the south on the Newfoundland/Labrador coast. If the Norse were in conflict with the skraelings (and they were) is it not logical to suppose that the locals would have thorougly destroyed any evidence of Norse settlemetns after the Norse left or were killed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.176.23.161 (talk) 10:31, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Sunday Times article[edit]

There ia an article on page 5 of The Sunday Times' main section of 2 June 2013 on the Vinland map if someone will put in the link. Jackiespeel (talk) 17:30, 3 June 2013 (UTC) (correcting again)

I have added a short summary of the new discoveries by J.P. Floyd, with links to the relevant Sunday Times (paywalled, sorry) and Daily Mail articles. I have also taken the liberty of adding a link to Floyd's original press-release, posted on the Maphist discussion list, as it contains a list of source references. David Trochos (talk) 12:02, 6 June 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. There was also a program on TV channel Dave on the map recently. One claim made was that it was an interwar pious fraud. Jackiespeel (talk) 17:44, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

... or it may have been Quest TV channel. Jackiespeel (talk) 21:48, 6 June 2013 (UTC)

Yup, it was Quest (and there's an illegal copy currently available on Youtube). Unfortunately, the documentary isn't actually very good- at times you can even sense that some of the "experts" (who, apart from Kirsten Seaver, have not hitherto been known in connection with the Map) are basing their statements on this very Wikipedia article! David Trochos (talk) 07:11, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

'Category of channels one watches occasionally and which have the same feel' :)

Is it agreed that 'the sheet of vellum' belongs with the other two documents - even if the map itself is of uncertain origin.

If the map had surfaced after the discovery of the Viking site attitudes towards it might have been rather different. Jackiespeel (talk) 09:13, 7 June 2013 (UTC)

Funnily enough, one thing the Quest show did get just right was to show the map as two half-sheets of vellum rather than 'the sheet of vellum'. As the carbon dating puts them exactly contemporary with the "Speculum" manuscript, and they are just the right size, they are almost certainly taken from it.
On your last statement- for public purposes, the Map did surface after the original 1964 National Geographic feature on the Ingstads' discoveries, which complicates the situation somewhat! David Trochos (talk) 07:17, 8 June 2013 (UTC)

I recall reading the proverbial somewhere that Columbus became aware that the Bristol merchants/fishermen in their ships had reached the American coastal areas, and so knew that the journey was feasible (even if they did not know it was not Asia).

I think this is veering towards OR - if you wish we can continue the discussion here [6] and return to WP with a summary. Jackiespeel (talk) 21:32, 8 June 2013 (UTC)