The world needs a new journal
There are already thousands of magazines out there, so why start a new one?
Well, none of the other magazine publish articles about the exciting subject of ancient fingerprints.
The latest craze in TV and the theatres is forensics. There are several shows where detectives, federal agents
and even anthropologists solve crimes with the help of science.
Very few people know that it was a hobby archaeologist who started the science of fingerprints. His name was Henry
Faulds and worked as a missionary doctor in Japan in the 1870s. On a visit to a archaeological site he
looked at some ceramic sherds and saw imprints from fingers. Later he helped the police to solve a burglary
in Tokyo with the fingerpints of the suspect. In 1880 Faulds wrote the article “On the skin-furrows of the hand”
in the respected magazine The Nature. In the matter of years fingerprints had become an accepted part of every major
In the field of archaeology however, fingerprints are not an integrated part of the investigation.
Of the tens of thousands excavations done every year only a handful are using this technique. One of the major
goals of this journal is to expand the knowledge of fingerprints among archaeologist.
In most of archaeology the artefacts tell us much about the ancient people but not much about the persons.
When a ceramics sherd or piece of clay has a preserved fingerprint it suddenly becomes personal. It is possible
to actually hold the very same object someone held thousands of years ago.
It also gets personal in several other aspects because fingerprints are the only fool-proof way to connect
two artefacts from two different locations, or cultures. If someone were to find the exact same fingerprint on a
piece of ceramics from the 1st century in South America as on a artefact from Rome, the whole world history would
have to be rewritten.
In the most recent studies fingerprints have successfully been used to determine the age of potters and craftsmen,
it has also been possible to prove that kids worked with adults both in the Mediterranean Bronze Age and in Scandinavia
during the Viking Age, and with the position of fingerprints on artefacts it is possible to know exactly how the objects
were manifactured or used.
These studies have been isolated studies made by a handful archaeologists.
The major reason for lack of organized studies and documentation of ancient fingerprints is that it is a multi-disciplinary
scientific field. It is a mix of biology, criminal forensics, chemistry and archaeology. This makes it difficult for an
individual to master the subject and cooperation is needed.
Hopefully this journal will be help to bring scientists from all these different fields together. We know that we have
got a good start. Why? Well You have downloaded and started to read it. And we really hope You will
get the “ancient fingerprints”-bug...
Editor of Journal of Ancient Fingerprints
Welcome to the Journal of Ancient Fingerprints