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Researchers find lost copy of Declaration of Independence

BOSTON -- Harvard University researchers say they’ve discovered a second parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence.

The Boston Globe reported Friday researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen found the copy in a records office in southern England. 

The only other parchment copy is maintained by the National Archives in Washington.

Sneff discovered the copy in August 2015, at first not thinking much of the document, according to the Harvard Gazette.

Inside the Declaration of Independence signing

“When I looked at it closely, I started to see details, like names that weren’t in the right order — John Hancock isn’t listed first, there’s a mark at the top that looks like an erasure, the text has very little punctuation in it — and it’s in a handwriting I hadn’t seen before,” she told the Gazette. “As those details started adding up, I brought it to Danielle’s attention and we realized this was different from any other copy we had seen.”

The two dated the document to the 1780s. They say it was found in the archives in Chichester, England, and is believed to have originally belonged to a Duke of Richmond known as the “Radical Duke” for his support of Americans during the Revolutionary War. 

The researchers said the signers on the Sussex version are not broken down by state, something that distinguishes it from the copy in the National Archives. 

The parchment was likely made in New York or Philadelphia.

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