Irish schoolgirl creates method to date ancient manuscripts

Sixteen-year-old Aoife Gregg of Loreto College, St Stephen’s Green, Ireland recently competed in a science competition. Her project: a computer letter frequency analysis of ancient Irish texts to demonstrate how the language has changed.

Gregg analyzed 17 documents, dating back to the 7th century, for the frequency of letters such as A, I, H and N. She correctly dated 8 out of 10 of the older documents. “It provides an alternative way of dating Irish documents,” she said.