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Researchers Unravel the Mystery of Purple Stains on an Ancient Vatican Manuscript • Mirror Daily

Scientists found out why there were purple spots on a Vatican manuscript

(Mirror Daily, United States) – Religious writings are always puzzling, as researchers usually never manage to decode everything that they might be hiding. However, if they choose to look beyond what’s written in them, they might make amazing discoveries. An 800-year-old Vatican manuscript was covered in some weird purple spots, and Italian researchers claim to have finally found their secret.

The Vatican manuscript was covered in mysterious purple stains

The Vatican manuscript in question was written on a goatskin about 800 years ago, and was found in Secret Archive of the Vatican. At the time of its discovery, researchers were more fascinated by the purple spots which stained the parchment than by other elements. These stains, dating back to different times and places, have remained a mystery until recently.

Scientists established marine bacteria were responsible for the purple stains. However, this finding led to another surprising one. It turned out the Vatican manuscript didn’t come into contact with any seawater. They were expecting this, somehow, as the scroll couldn’t have been kept in water without being completely destroyed.

The organisms behind the spots were marine bacteria

The manuscript tells the story of the sanctity of Laurentius Loricatus. After killing a man accidentally, he lived the rest of his life punishing himself for the horrible sin. This convinced the people in his village to preserve his story on a goatskin. But how did marine bacteria end up on it?

It seems the organisms date back to the time the goatskin was washed, prior writing. Over the centuries, the bacteria thrived, and left these purple spots. This caused several bits of the Vatican manuscript to degrade and flake off. The bits were produced as the old bacteria died off, and new ones came to take its place. In fact, these bits helped the researchers unravel the mystery of the purple spots.

These purple stains are not unusual among ancient scrolls, so scientists hope their discovery would be useful. They hope they were able to help conservators avoid the destruction of parchments affected by these bacteria.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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