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Thomas a Kempis. Opera. Nuremberg, 1494 This volume, one of a very few existing examples of a chain binding, still retains the remnant of the hand-wrought chain which fastened it securely to a shelf. At the time of the publication of this book in the 1490s, books were so valuable that they were often chained in place to foil thieves.

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Is this the first ever portrait of Jesus? The incredible story of 70 ancient books hidden in a cave for nearly 2,000 years

This could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus Christ, possibly even created in the lifetime of those who knew him. The extraordinary picture is one of the recently discovered hoard of up to 70 lead codices found in a cave in the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee.

In 1934, a Swedish archeologist discovered hundreds of ancient mummies buried under boats in a mysterious cemetery in a remote desert in the Xinjang region of China. The location, which is featured rivers and lakes thousands of years ago, was lost until 2000, and researchers began to excavate the area in 2003. They found the body of a woman thought to have died almost 4,000 years ago, who has become known as the most beautiful mummy in the world, owing to incredible well-preserved features…

Pictures of the day: 19 October 2012

The smallest English dictionary in the world has been discovered by West Country book shop owner Graham York. Although only 1x3/4inch the tiny book's 384 pages contain thousands of words, and even comes with a lens in its case for surreptitious study when challenged by a lack of diction. Printed by David Bryce & Sons in Glasgow in 1890 it's thought only a handful of the mini books were made to show the printer's skills.