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Scanning Electron Microscope Aided Wood Identification of a Bronze Age Wooden Diptych

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A broken wooden diptych was found in 1986 on the 14th century B.C. Ulu Burun, Turkey, shipwreck, with only minute fragments available for anatomical study using scanning electron microscopy. Previously, the earliest known diptychs, considered the oldest books in existence, had been found at Assyrian Nimrud and were constructed of walnut. Using observed features from the wood fragments a computerised wood identification program generated Buxus as a probable candidate. Boxwood (Buxus) is frequently mentioned in historical references, including Assyrian texts, as a wood used for small, durable objects. Comparison of the diptych wood features with those of Buxus sempervirens convinces us that the diptych was constructed from boxwood (Buxus sp.).

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/content/journals/10.1163/22941932-90001182
1990-01-01
2016-12-03

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