The Ancient Ink Laboratory uses modern concepts and techniques in Nanotechnology (as developed in Columbia University’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center) to elucidate the nature and the development of inks used in the creation of manuscripts from the ancient world, building upon the unique resources of Columbia University’s Butler Library.  The laboratory is especially interested in understanding the evolution of red and black inks exhibited in Egyptian papyri dating from before 1000 BCE to 1000 CE and beyond.  We are especially concerned with the use of spectroscopic signatures to determine the dates for ancient writings.  In addition, we are studying polychromatic manuscripts including a fragment from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.