The Archimedes Palimpsest Project
Welcome. The subject of this website is a manuscript of extraordinary importance to the history of science, the Archimedes Palimpsest. This thirteenth century prayer book contains erased texts that were written several centuries earlier still. These erased texts include two treatises by Archimedes that can be found nowhere else, The Method and Stomachion. The manuscript sold at auction to a private collector on the 29th October 1998. The owner deposited the manuscript at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, a few months later. Since that date the manuscript has been the subject of conservation, imaging and scholarship, in order to better read the texts. The Archimedes Palimpsest project, as it is called, has shed new light on Archimedes and revealed new texts from the ancient world. These new texts include speeches by an Athenian orator from the fourth century B.C. called Hyperides, and a third century A.D. commentary on Aristotle’s Categories.
The project, which is in its twelfth year, has generated a great deal of public curiosity, as well as the interest of scholars throughout the world. All the raw imaging data, as well as transcriptions of the unique texts in the manuscript have been published on the web. The definitive account of the project, and images and transcriptions of the unique texts in the manuscript have been published by Cambridge University Press, and an exhibition about the project “Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes”, opens at The Walters Art Museum on October 16, and runs through the end of the year.
All sorts of information about the Archimedes Palimpsest and the project to retrieve its text can be found on this site, and there is even more to see in the exhibition.