The Lost Gospel
  • Main
  • About the Project
  • Document
  • Time Line & Map
  • Conservation
  • Authentication
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
  • Overview
  • Radiocarbon Dating
  • Contextual Evidence
  • Paleography
  • Ink Analysis
  • Multispectral Analysis

Ink Analysis

An ink sample is extracted from the codex for testing.
Photograph by Joseph G. Barabe/ McCrone Associates

Physical evidence of the Gospel of Judas' age was found not only within the papyruses but also in the ink that was used to pen the ancient Coptic script. Analysis suggests that the ink may itself constitute a unique and important discovery.

McCrone Associates, a firm specializing in forensic ink analysis, conducted a transmission electron microscopy (TEM) test on samples of the document's ink.

The procedure uncovered the components used to create the ancient ink and found that they are consistent with ingredients in known inks from the third and fourth centuries A.D. The ink includes a carbon black constituent, in the form of soot, bound with a gum adhesive.

An additional procedure, Raman spectroscopy analysis, established that the ink also included a metal-gallic component like those used in third-century iron-gall inks.

McCrone Associates reports that the Gospel of Judas may have been penned with an early form of iron-gall ink that included a small amount of carbon black (soot). If so, it could be a previously unknown "missing link" between the ancient world's carbon-based inks and the iron-gall alternatives that became popular in medieval times.