A powerful X-ray scanner designed to study the minerals in teeth and display its contents without damaging the letters of the 17th century
An international team of researchers has successfully read the unopened letter of the European Renaissance without breaking its seal or damaging it in any way.
The research was published in Nature Communications, Describes how X-ray scanners used in dental research enable interdisciplinary teams to read the contents of unopened letters that have been sealed and closed for more than 300 years.
The sender of these letters sealed them with a letter lock, which is a painstaking process of carefully folding and fixing the flat paper in its envelope. This animation shows how they did it.
A high-sensitivity X-ray microtomography scanner developed by the Dental Research Laboratory of the University of Mary in London has been used to scan a batch of unopened letters in a 17th century mailbox full of undelivered mail.
Before modern envelopes were used, this letter system was a common practice for secure communication, and was considered to be the link between ancient physical communication security technology and modern digital cryptographic technology.
So far, these correspondence packages can only be researched and read by cutting, which often destroys historical documents. Now, the team has been able to check the contents of the card without damaging them.
Professor Graham Davis of Queen Mary University of London explained: “The X-ray scanner we designed has unprecedented sensitivity in mapping the mineral content of teeth, which is very valuable for dental research. However, this high Sensitivity also makes it possible to resolve certain types of ink on paper and parchment. Surprisingly, so far, the scanners we design for teeth have become widespread.”
Dr. David Mills of Queen Mary University of London added: “We can use a scanner to radiograph history. The scanning technology is similar to a medical computed tomography scanner, but it uses stronger X-rays to allow us to see Tiny metal traces in the ink used to write these letters.
The other members of the team were able to take scanned images and convert them into letters that could be opened and read virtually, for the first time in more than 300 years.
What does the letter say
This process revealed the contents of a letter dated July 31, 1697. It includes a request from Jacques Sennacques to his cousin Pierre Le Pers (a French businessman in The Hague) to obtain a request from a certain Daniel Le Pers (Daniel Le Pers). Pers) deliver a certified copy of the report.
This letter provides fascinating insights into the lives and concerns of common people during the turbulent period of European history, when communication networks connected families, communities, and businesses far away.
Complete bibliographic information
Research documents: Unlock historical records by automatically expanding the sealed document of X-ray imaging Microtomography”. Jana Dambrogio, Amanda Ghassaei, Daniel Starza Smith, Holly Jackson, Martin L. Demaine, Graham Davis, David Mills, Rebecca