The chemical history of the Durham Gospels

Texts from antiquity, such as the famous Lindisfarne Gospels, have long been a source for scholars to piece together our history. Now, with the advent of portable spectroscopic devices, the chemical makeup of the pigments used can give us an extra way to understand the social and cultural conditions of the age.

Kate Nicholson, of Durham Universty, UK, has been 'taking the Raman on the road' to study the Durham Gospels. Her work has helped to further understand their relationship to the Lindisfarne gospels, as well as track the arrival of pigments from overseas.

She spoke to Neil Withers about her work:

Read more from our chemistry and art theme issue

Related Content

Raman identifies South American sculpture pigments

22 June 2015 Research

news image

Sculptures made by 17th century missionaries in Paraguay have been investigated using Raman spectroscopy

Delving deeper in the Hall of the Kings

24 October 2012 Research

news image

A portable and non-invasive technique to study and characterise pigments in ancient architecture

Most Commented

Chlorinated compounds form in tea and coffee

24 November 2015 Research

news image

Treated water reacts with organics to form disinfection byproducts

Brazilian mine disaster releases dangerous metals

21 November 2015 News and Analysis

news image

Irreversible negative human health and environmental effects could result from Brazilian mine’s dam collapse