Renaissance-Era Letter Sealed For Centuries Just Virtually Unfolded And Read For The First Time


More than 600 years ago, someone intricately folded, sealed and posted a letter that was never delivered. Now, scientists have digitally “unfolded” this and other similarly locked letters found in a 17th-century trunk in The Hague, using X-rays.

For centuries prior to the invention of sealed envelopes, sensitive correspondence was protected from prying eyes through complex folding techniques called ‘letterlocking’, which transformed a letter into its own secure envelope.

However, locked letters that survive to the present are fragile and can be opened physically only by slicing them to pieces.


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