Over the years, many mysterious ancient manuscripts have been uncovered, and researchers who have examined these documents have found hidden secrets from the past. Most of these secret texts are concealed in other archaeological records, and the traces of these manuscripts are usually invisible to the naked eye. The utilization of modern technology like X-rays, CT scans and multispectral imaging are often necessary for bringing the secrets of these mysterious and long-lost works to light.
1. Hidden Text of Euripides
A group of researchers from the Universities of Bologna and Gottingen discovered a hidden text of a fifth-century-BC Greek drama beneath a 13th-centuary-AD prophetic book of the Old Testament. This early work is attributed to one of Athens’s foremost dramatists, Euripides, whose work became the cornerstone of education in the Hellenistic age and has significantly influenced modern drama. This hidden text was uncovered through multispectral imaging in 2013, and not only does the document contain Euripides’s work, but it is also full of ancient annotations.
2. Treatise of the Vessels
Archaeologists and fortune hunters have been hard at work to find the alleged hidden treasures stashed away by Israel’s third king, Solomon, and among them is the legendary Ark of the Covenant. At present, a newly-translated ancient Hebrew text known as the Treatise of the Vessels seems to have new information about the location of the elusive Ark, along with the rest of King Solomon’s treasures. According to a translation by James Davila, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, the treasures were hidden by some Levites and prophets, and that they are stocked away in various locations in the Land of Israel and Babylonia, while others were delivered into the hands of the angels.
3. Codex Selden
For decades, researchers were certain that hidden messages can be found beneath the surface of Codex Selden, which was previously lost for almost 500 years. It was only in 2016, that hyperspectral imaging finally allowed researchers to take a closer look at the surface of the precolonial Mexican manuscript, revealing hidden texts and images beneath. So far, the researchers have yet to complete scanning all the pages, and the text has not been translated, but researchers are convinced that more discoveries are to be made once the hidden messages of the Codex Selden are interpreted.
4. Novgorod Codex
In 2000, archaeologists excavating Novgorod in Russia discovered the Novgorod Codex, the earliest known book made by the Rus’ people. This hyper-palimpsest, dated to the 11th century, preserved two Psalms. However, when the wax was removed for conservation, the restorers found retained traces of an earlier text, including several previously unknown Slavonic compositions of native origin. It is believed that the Novgorod Codex may contain several dozens of hidden text layers.
5. Codex Zacynthius
In the 13th century, the Codex Zacynthius were an Evangeliarium, an old manuscript that contained a collection of Gospel passages. However, in 1861, researchers detected that there is actually a hidden text in the Codex Zacynthius. The text is a sixth or seventh-century script which turned out to contain an account of the Gospel of Luke. This Codex has 176 vellum leaves, and experts believe that there are a lot more secrets to be discovered in the ancient document, and they plan to analyze the hidden text through multispectral analysis.
6. The Lost Gospel
Many theologians have long speculated about Jesus’ alleged romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene. However, if the translation of the so-called “Lost Gospel” – a 1500-year-old ancient manuscript found at the British Library – is any indication, then what we believe to know about the life of Jesus Christ at present is not completely true. Translated from Aramaic, the text reveals that Jesus had indeed married Mary Magdalene and even had children with her. This makes the Christian messiah a husband and a father to a family of his own if the “Lost Gospel” is proven true.
7. Voynich Manuscript
This ancient medieval manuscript was named after Wilfrid M. Voynich, a Polish-American book dealer who discovered the text in a chest in the Jesuit College at the Villa Mondragone in Frascati in 1912. The cryptic document is written on medieval parchment using an unknown script system showing basic statistical patterns which resemble a real language. However, there are also those that believe that the manuscript was a forgery intended as a hoax. Until now, the nature and origin of the manuscript have remained a mystery and have led to a lot of controversy and debate.
8. Sibiu Manuscript
In 1961, Doru Todericiu, a professor of Science and Technology at the University of Bucharest, found an ancient document, now known as the Sibiu Manuscript. The 450-page manuscript dates back to 1570, with its history even going further back by several centuries. The old text contains technical data about multi-stage rockets, artillery, and ballistics. It also reported about a “javelin” which flew with considerable effective range, and the launching of a multi-tiered rocket in the city of Sibiu, where thousands of people supposedly witnessed the event in 1555 and turned out to be a complete success.
9. Black Book of Carmarthen
The Black Book of Carmarthen was written by a single monk around 1250, and it is the oldest surviving manuscript which is written solely in Welsh. In 2015, Raul Russell and Myriah Williams of the University of Cambridge reported that hidden contents had been found in the book which had been invisible under normal viewing conditions. Using a variety of imaging techniques like ultraviolet lamps and photo-editing software, some of the unknown material was detected, including extensive marginal annotations such as inscriptions, poems, and even drawings.
10. Codex Washingtonianus
Housed at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, the Codex Washingtonianus is the world’s third oldest Bible. The priceless ancient book is made up of almost 200 parchment pages and is believed to be more than 1,500 years old. The Codex Washingtonianus has been the subject of controversy because of the unique insertion in the ending of the biblical gospel of Mark. Referred to as the “Freer Logion,” a part of the passage makes mention of the end of Satan’s power, seemingly addressing the question of whether God or Satan was the one in charge of mankind’s fate. The text is not found in any other manuscript, and when it was published in 1912, the passage caused much consternation as it raised another challenge to the Bible people knew.
The ancient documents we have mentioned, even without their unlocked secrets, are important archaeological artifacts that serve as an enduring testament to mankind’s complex and impressive history. And as more mysterious ancient manuscripts continue to get discovered, the potential secrets they hide could now be much easier to uncover – thanks to modern technology – allowing us to learn more about our past and possibly gain a better understanding of who we are through the works of our ancestors.