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Identifying Historic Ink Types

Tuesday | February 25th | 10:00-14:00 


Multi-purpose Lecture room, 1st floor
National Library of Israel



Analysis of a manuscript fragment, using the XRF spectrometer ELIO (Bruker Corp.)  The permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library is gratefully acknowledged​


In this workshop, we will learn about different types of inks used in the past and how we can differentiate between them using reflectography and X-ray fluorescence analysis.

The program will cover


1. Theoretical part about the historic inks (antiquity to the Middle Ages, in the Middle East and Europe)

2. Methods of the study

3. Protocol with demonstration


Ms. Ira Rabin's research aims primarily at recreating a socio-geographic history of inks, parchment, and papyrus and includes the comparative analysis of the writing materials of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ink and papyrus in Ancient and Hellenistic Egypt, and inks in documents from various contemporary medieval communities in Fustat (first nucleus of Cairo) as well as other medieval Jewish and Armenian communities.


To facilitate the research and involve scholars and conservators in the material studies of the inks, her division in Berlin and Hamburg in Hamburg has developed a protocol for ink analysis. It consists of a primary screening to determine the type of the ink, and a subsequent in-depth analysis using several spectroscopic techniques.