Researchers from the world famous US institution, Harvard University have worked on a project to date the Sussex Declaration of Independence.
Testing of the Sussex Declaration of Independence parchment housed in the West Sussex Record Office ages the document as being produced in 1780s.
The Sussex Declaration, as it has become known, is the only other contemporary manuscript copy of the US Declaration of Independence on parchment apart from the signed copy at the National Archives in Washington DC – the Matlack Declaration.
The findings come after extensive collaborations between Harvard University researchers with archivists, conservators and scientists at the West Sussex Record Office, British Library, Library of Congress, and the University of York.
Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “This is such terrific news about the Sussex Declaration. We have all been waiting to hear what the experts have been able to discover for us and now we know!”
Wendy Walker, West Sussex County Archivist, said: “It is a fascinating document and it has been fantastic for us to work with colleagues at Harvard, the Library of Congress, the British Library and the University of York to find out more.”