For many years, manuscript studies were lacking investigations of the composition of writing materials and supports. However, in recent years, the use of techniques from the field of natural sciences has rectified this oversight supplying rich information on the make-up of the books and documents. The new results have enriched our understanding not only of a manuscript and its history, but also of the societies that produced these objects. Whether through characterisation, direct dating or the reading of erased texts, archaeometry has thus allowed the addition of many layers of knowledge when studying a manuscript.
Here we will look at different cases of archaeometric analysis of manuscripts and the results obtained from these studies, and in particular at the examples of dating, of forgery detection, the detection and reading of a text sub-layer and attaining a better characterisation of a manuscript through the analysis of the inks used.