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Author Topic: Is it possible to seal and preserve a liquid (potion) for 750 years?  (Read 1459 times)

Offline Tower-Hill

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Greetings to everyone who is infinitely smarter than I am,

Strange subject, I know.  I am writing a fiction novel (going on four years now of development).  It begins with a prologue in the middle ages.  Events in the middle ages have consequences in modern times.  While it is fiction, it is a type of medical thriller which mixes fact with fiction.  It could best be described as "Contagion meets The DaVinci Code  So, while it is fiction, it must be plausible for the most part because it is a "what if" thriller.  I have run into a snag that I thought I had solved.  As part of the main story line, I must have someone in the middle ages (with the knowledge available to them at the time) seal a vial or container of some kind of liquid, which will be hidden and discovered 750 years in modern times.  This has been a main point of criticism by my reviewers because they cannot find any means that this would be possible, thereby rendering a main part of the story implausible.

Can anyone suggest a way, even if it is highly improbable, but possible, that this could have been done?  Specifically, I need this vial to be discovered in the state that it was sealed in 750 years before.

I would be very grateful if someone could help me with possible suggestions.

Many thanks for any replies.

Bob




























« Last Edit: 16/04/2015 19:34:07 by Tower-Hill »


 

Offline chiralSPO

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It depends what's in the vial. A medieval alchemist would have had the materials and skill to seal their potion in a glass ampoule (if they wanted to; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampoule#Historic_ampoules).

I wouldn't expect biological material to remain intact or viable for that long, but it could certainly be possible (for instance: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_viable_seed or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endospore#Reactivation)

Ultimately, if it is central to the plot of your work of fiction, the reader will just have to suspend their disbelief (I have seen much less likely plot mechanisms in some really good novels...)
 

Offline RD

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apparently a wax seal is sufficient ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speyer_wine_bottle
 

Offline Tower-Hill

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It depends what's in the vial. A medieval alchemist would have had the materials and skill to seal their potion in a glass ampoule (if they wanted to; newbielink:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ampoule#Historic_ampoules [nonactive]).

I wouldn't expect biological material to remain intact or viable for that long, but it could certainly be possible (for instance: newbielink:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_viable_seed [nonactive] or newbielink:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endospore#Reactivation [nonactive])

Ultimately, if it is central to the plot of your work of fiction, the reader will just have to suspend their disbelief (I have seen much less likely plot mechanisms in some really good novels...)

Thank you very much for your reply.  That is very helpful.  Actually, I should have been more specific in my question.  The liquid in question is human blood, diluted with water and mixed with certain herbs as a preservative.  The blood contains antibodies which will be used to develop a drug, an antibiotic, if you will, when discovered in modern times.  I have been told by an advisor who is a microbiologist that the only way blood could maintain its antibody properties that long is if the container were sealed to create vacuum and was completely void of oxygen.  In my story, this is exactly how I described that it was done. However, it isn't satisfying my reviewers.  They want me to come up with something more believable.

Your reply was very helpful.  I appreciate it.

Bob
 

Offline Tower-Hill

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apparently a wax seal is sufficient ... newbielink:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speyer_wine_bottle [nonactive]

Thank you.  That is exactly how I handled it in my book.  But, because the liquid was partially human blood, the reviewers didn't buy.  As has been suggested, it may be that I have to ask my readers to suspend belief on this if I am going to finish this work.

Bob
 

Offline jccc

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no worries. when the pope kisses the bottle, the blood will turn red again.
 

Offline RD

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...  The liquid in question is human blood, diluted with water and mixed with certain herbs as a preservative ...
There are glass test-tubes coated with anti-coagulant to stop blood clotting ...
http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/customer-service/faq/specimen/collection-tubes

...  The blood contains antibodies which will be used to develop a drug, an antibiotic, if you will, when discovered in modern times ...

Anti-bodies can be obtained from dried blood , ( dunno how long though) ,
http://www.researchgate.net/post/Whats_the_best_method_to_extract_antibodies_from_dry_blood_spots_that_are_several_years_old

Can a frozen-corpse be incorporated into the script ? ... http://www.livescience.com/2403-climate-threat-thawing-tundra-releases-infected-corpses.html


Russians Draw Liquid Blood from Frozen Mammoth ...
« Last Edit: 18/04/2015 22:53:15 by RD »
 

Offline PmbPhy

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Quote from: Tower-Hill
apparently a wax seal is sufficient ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speyer_wine_bottle

Thank you.  That is exactly how I handled it in my book.  But, because the liquid was partially human blood, the reviewers didn't buy.  As has been suggested, it may be that I have to ask my readers to suspend belief on this if I am going to finish this work.

Bob
You can always seal a liquid in a bottle but that won't stop any chemical or biological reactions from occurring.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Can you contrive for it to be frozen? Trip across the Alps like the 3000BCE mummy who was found well preserved.
 

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