Books & Beasts: Parchment Identification from Conservation Waste

March 27, 2014

Monday, April 14, 10:00 – 11:00 AM, Sterling Memorial Library, International Room (177)

Please join IPCH in welcoming, from The University of Manchester:
Caroline Checkley-Scott, Collection Care Manager, The John Rylands University Library
Stephen Milner, Serena Professor of Italian
Julianne Simpson, Collection and Research Services Manager, JRUL

and from The University of York:
Matthew Collins, Professor of Archaeology, BioArCh
Sarah Fiddyment, Marie Curie Research Fellow, BioArCh

As they talk about the use of mass spectrometry to understand which animal skins were used in the manufacture of historic manuscripts

Abstract:Scientists, Conservators and Humanities Scholars are working together in the Books & Beasts project to harness value from the waste from conservation treatment of manuscripts. By simply collecting the eraser waste generated when dry cleaning a manuscript we offer to provide species identification of that manuscript. We determine the species of animal used to make the parchment through protein mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) of the collagen molecules extracted from the eraser waste. Through this technique we have been able to analyze over 900 separate parchment samples. These analyses have provided us with vast information about geographic distribution of livestock and animal preference for codices vs archival records.

Organized by the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage
Yale West Campus