Dating legal documents
The different dating conventions employed in historical documents can cause problems for even the most seasoned of researchers.
Early documents, such as medieval deeds, for example, may be dated by reference to a day of the week, a nearby religious feast day and the year of the reigning monarch - a system which has little in common with the current method of noting day, month and calendar year.
In 2001 a case was submitted to Dawson’s Document Laboratory, L. According to the witness, all pages were executed at the same time.Each document was produced at different moments using a different ink stroke pressure, factors that may alter the results and lead to dating errors.During the natural ageing process of each sample, which had a known age, the research team analysed the evolution in the various volatile components.Furthermore, even where a recognisable date is provided, it may not always be what it at first appears.The information provided within this skills unit aims to identify and explain some of the most common difficulties and pitfalls and to provide sources of assistance.
When analysing the kinetics involved in its disappearance, the research group established a pattern that links the state of the ink with the time that has elapsed.