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Imaging Technology Divines Possible Shakespeare Autograph

A 50-megapixel multispectral digital imaging system has allowed a team of University of Mississippi humanities researchers to identify a probable new Shakespeare signature in a 16th century legal text. The researchers imaged a faint signature in a copy of a survey of Saxon laws published during the monarchy of Queen Elizabeth I using technology that includes LED lights that transmit light ranging from UV to near IR and a quartz lens, which allows UV light to be transmitted through it. The image is rendered using an application typically used to render satellite images, known as ENVI, and Image-J as well as a proprietary application. The signature has been thought to be a forgery, which it still may be, but the researchers say they can compare it both with known Shakespeare signatures and known forged signatures. If it is indeed an authentic signature, the researchers say it may indicate that Shakespeare might have been involved in the English legal system. The multispectral imaging technology is being used to collect information on manuscripts and support the discipline known as codicology, which is the study of manuscripts. To date, they have examined several of William Faulkner’s lost poems and assisted in the restoration of the 14th century Middle French poem called "Les Eschéz d'Amours" (The Chess of Love), which had been damaged in the bombing of Dresden in World War II. The team plans to next examine an ancient Jewish religious text known as the “Book of Jubilees.” (Ars Technica)(University of Mississippi)

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