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orion Red, green, blue inks
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David Sutor wrote:
>It seems to me that examination of the manuscripts themselves would be
>essential here, since coloration could also show up in the photographic
So ... the publishers of the Discoveries in the Judean Desert, a pretty
pricey set of books, are going to group together a set of photographs in
which the coloration is totally off, possibly as a result of darkroom
errors? Having spent many hours in the darkroom myself, I tended to make
sure the mistakes NEVER saw the light of day. The last thing in the world
a reputable publisher is going to do is print a set of pictures that have
been altered or that do not resemble the objects they're supposed to
I do have one color photo of one fragment. It appears to be tinted in
red, while the ink remains black. If anything oxidized, it wasn't the ink.
The adjacent fragment appears to be spattered in red. It could be that
something nearby was oxidizing, or that the document was colored by a ink
leaching from another document.
Or, it could have been that the leather was dyed red.
But if there was a tendency for the ink used by these scribes to oxidize
and create a blue/green tint or coloration, wouldn't we have it occuring on
and in other known texts? Seems there would be blue and green smudges all
over the place and we wouldn't be having this discussion. But there aren't
and we are.
Pardon me for not going back and fetching up the date and time of his
post, but Stephen Goranson noted that the report in Archaeometry never said
there was green or blue ink in the scrolls, as if I had said as much in
some silly attempt to mislead. I believe my original post on the sugject
stated that there was a reference to red green and blue inks in the report
and that is what got Neil Altman wondering why they authors mentioned blue
and green inks at all in a piece about "The red ink in the Dead Sea
Scrolls." It's called curiosity. And he came across what we are discussing
The second paragraph of the piece by Y. Nir-el and M. Broshi begins,
"Surprisingly, there are not reports of chemical analysis of ancient
coloured writing inks according to a literature search for references to
the red, BLUE AND GREEN inks used in antiquity." Forgive my screaming
emphasis, but why did they even mention blue and green if they hadn't
spotted it in the scrolls? And just WHEN were red, green and blue inks used
Cited in the articles references: Levy, M., 1962, Medieval Arabic book
making and its (?) relation to early chemestry and pharmacology, Trans.Am.
Phil. Soc., 52 (4), 1-79.
Interestingly, after stating that there had been "no report of chemical
analysis of ancient colored writing inks according to a literature search,"
the authors state that the "powder unearthed in Jerico was found to be
contaminated with 4% lead, relative to mercury." Seems contradictory. Who
did that analysis, when and where?