Science puts historical claims to the test (Vol. 50, No. 5-6)
The latest analytical techniques available to scientists can confirm the validity of historical sources in some cases, and suggest a need for reconsideration in others.
As any historian will tell you, we can rarely take the claims made by our ancestors at face value. The authenticity of many of the artefacts which shape our understanding of the past have been hotly debated for centuries, with little consensus amongst researchers. Now, many of these disputes are being resolved through scientific research, including two studies recently published in EPJ Plus. The first of these, led by Diego Armando Badillo-Sanchez at the University of Évora in Portugal, analysed an artefact named ‘Francisco Pizarro’s Banner of Arms’ – believed to have been carried by the Spanish conquistador during his conquest of the Inca Empire in the 16th century. The second team, headed by Armida Sodo at Roma Tre University in Italy, investigated a colour print of Charlemagne – the medieval ruler who united much of Western Europe – assumed to be from the 16th century.
D. A. Badillo-Sanchez, C. B. Dias, A. Manhita, and N. Schiavon, The National Museum of Colombia’s “Francisco Pizarro’s Banner of Arms”: a multianalytical approach to help uncovering its history, Eur. Phys. J. Plus 134, 224 (2019)
A. Sodo, L. Ruggiero, S. Ridolfi, E. Savage, L. Valbonetti, and M.A. Ricci, Dating of a unique six-colour relief print by historical and archaeometric methods, Eur. Phys. J. Plus 134, 276 (2019)