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Researchers at the University of Arizona have solved one of the biggest mysteries about what has been called "the world's most mysterious manuscript."

Using radiocarbon dating, a team led by Greg Hodgins in the UA's department of physics has determined that the enigmatic Voynich Manuscript was penned someone in the early 15th century, making it a century older than scholars once thought.

A release from the University of Arizona states that the "The DaVinci Code" is lackluster compared to The Voynich Manuscript - which contains alien characters penned in a language no one understands, flowing artistically between illustrations of plants, astronomical charts and human figures.

Hodgins is fascinated with the mystery.

"Is it a code, a cipher of some kind?" he asks. "People are doing statistical analysis of letter use and word use - the tools that have been used for code breaking. But they still haven't figured it out."

But thanks to Hodgins' team, its age has been figured out. He traveled to Yale University and dissected a pieces of the parchment to obtain four tiny samples that were brought back to Tucson.

Next, the team combusted the samples, leaving only its carbon content behind. These samples are loaded into a mass spectrometer, which isolates the heavier Carbon-14 isotope, which can be used to calculate the sample's age.

"In radiocarbon dating, there is this whole system of many people working at it," Hodgins says. "It takes many skills to produce a date. From start to finish, there is archaeological expertise; there is biochemical and chemical expertise; we need physicists, engineers and statisticians. It's one of the joys of working in this place that we all work together toward this common goal."

The team of UA scientists was able to determine the mysterious document, which was found in 1912 by a rare book dealer sifting through a chest of books for sale, dated back to sometime between 1404 and 1438.

While Hodgins admitted that the actual content of the document is beyond his expertise, he believes it may relate to alchemy - a practice known for its secrecy, which may be why the document is apparently encoded in undecipherable text.

"I find this manuscript is absolutely fascinating as a window into a very interesting mind," Hodgins says. "Piecing these things together was fantastic. It's a great puzzle that no one has cracked, and who doesn't love a puzzle?"

Click here for more information on the Voynich Manuscript.