A sealed 300-year-old letter held in The Hague, Netherlands, has been read for the first time without opening it, thanks to X-ray technology and computer algorithms, a new study has revealed
A sealed letter in the 300-year-old Brienne Collection held at the Museum voor Communicatie in The Hague, Netherlands, has been read for the first time without opening it, thanks to X-ray technology and computer algorithms, a new study has revealed.
Courtesy of the Unlocking History Research Group archiveWritten byKatie Hunt, CNNThree hundred years ago, before envelopes, passwords and security codes, writers often struggled to keep thoughts, cares and dreams expressed in their letters private.One popular way was to use a technique called letter locking -- intricately folding a flat sheet of paper to become its own envelope. This security strategy presented a challenge when 577 locked letters delivered to The Hague in the Netherlands between 1689 and 1706 were found in a trunk of undelivered mail.
The letters hadnever reached their final recipients, and conservationists didn't want to open and damage them. Instead, a team has found a way to read one of the letters without breaking its seal or unfolding it in any way. Using a highly sensitive X-ray scanner and computer algorithms, researchers virtually unfolded the unopened letter.
This is a computer-generated unfolding sequence of a sealed letter from 17th-century Europe. Virtual unfolding was used to read the letter's contents without physically opening it.Credit:Courtesy of the Unlocking History Research Group archive"This algorithm takes us right into the heart of a locked letter," the research team said in a statement. headtopics.com
"Sometimes the past resists scrutiny. We could simply have cut these letters open, but instead we took the time to study them for their hidden, secret, and inaccessible qualities. We've learned that letters can be a lot more revealing when they are left unopened."
The technique revealed the contents of a letter dated July 31, 1697. It contains a request from Jacques Sennacques to his cousin Pierre Le Pers, a French merchant in The Hague, for a certified copy of a death notice of Daniel Le Pers.The details may seem prosaic, but the researchers said the letter gives fascinating insight into the lives of ordinary people -- a snapshot of the early modern world as it went about its business.
This 17th century trunk of undelivered letters was bequeathed to the Dutch postal museum in The Hague in 1926. A letter from this trunk was scanned by X-ray microtomography and virtually unfolded to reveal its contents for the first time in centuries.
Credit:Courtesy of the Unlocking History Research Group archive Read more: CNN »
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So what did it say. ? That seems like cheating. So cooool !!! STOP SHOWING TRUMP! Invasion of privacy...no. “I like you, do you like me? Mark yes or no”. There was a study to determine whether or not the letter had been read? That’s hilarious cancelcieexam2021 All that waiting and work just to unveil a receipt for pizza
SpanishDan1 Unfortunately the majority of the population voted for Brexit, which is I believe called democracy ! You could always follow me and go live in Europe, they have lots of sunshine ! '2 dozen eggs, milk, onions and the sausages Francois likes so much. Don't forget the beer.'