While renovating an old house in Scotland, construction crews found a large dirty rag bundled up and blocking the chimney. The tattered rag was pulled out, but when they took a closer look, they noticed that there was something unusual contained within.
They realized they may have a rare historical artifact in their hands, not just some dirty, old rags. It turns out it was a huge seventeenth century map.
That’s when one of the men packed it into a plastic bag and brought it to the National Library of Scotland thinking that they might be interested in it. The map was in terrible condition. It was a jigsaw of paper, fabric, pictures, text and images which needs to be conserved and presented.
Eventually, the crumpled up fabric was opened by conservationist Claire Thomson. “I was quite horrified. I’d never seen anything in such poor condition…it was so badly deteriorated,” the restorer said.
It’s likely that the previous owner had stuffed the map up the chimney to stop a draft of cold air, where it remained until the renovators found it.
After much painstaking effort, the map was restored. It has quite the detailed history, and has much to tell about that time in European history.
The video below follow Thomson’s painstaking conservation project.
In the second video below, scholars give an interesting account of the historical context that surrounds the map, how it came to be and how it likely ended up in Scotland.
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