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Scientists can take fingerprints of people from the 12th to the 14th centuries

(Credit: Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images) A generic close up of a fingerprint, 21 July 2003. A generic close up of a fingerprint, 21 July 2003. AFR Picture by MICHEL O'SULL
January 9
7:58 PM 2016

Imprint is a research project that examines fingerprints and palm prints of people who lived in the 12th to the 14th centuries.

The researchers will use this unique technique on prints from the wax seals in the National Library of Wales, according to a report by Wales Online. This project can solve medieval crimes and give more importance on century old documents. This forensic analysis will be used with historical research to dig up new insights from the medieval British society.

The wax seals documentations from the Library are business contracts, land transactions, and financial exchanges in the medieval days, which today could be considered as signatures and credit cards.

These wax seal documentations have the fingerprints of people who lived during those times. According to Popular Science, the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom are examining these fingerprints for modern forensics. Not all of these documents have fingerprints, but according to a previous study, 37 percent of them do.

The fingerprints that will be drawn from these documents will be put in a database to be matched among each other and compared to fingerprints of today to see the differences.

"These wax seals have the potential to give us so much information about medieval people, but they are often set aside as less important than the document itself," said lead researcher Phillippa Hoskin. "This will be the first time that the information from the handprints found on those seals will be examined, and it could really offer some historians new understanding of the period."

Culture 24 reported that the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds the research. Along with Hoskin of University of Lincoln, Aberystwyth University's Dr Elizabeth New co-leads the study.

The historical documents they will examine are from the cathedrals of Hereford, Lincoln, and Exeter. It will also examine documents from Westminster Abbey.

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