A team of researchers at the University of Glasgow developed a mass spectrometry technique to identify forged manuscripts. In their paper published in the journal 'Scientific Reports', the group describes their technique and how well it worked when testing known forged Robert Burns manuscripts.
Centuries ago medieval monks typically used iron gall ink to copy texts onto parchments made from sheepskin or cowhide. Unfortunately these documents grew harder and harder to read over time, in part because the ink would fade from a dark black to a light brown; the parchment slowly darkened as well. The contrast that was once stark slowly grew distorted, often rendering the texts illegible.