London (AFP) - A rare parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence has been found at a British archive among the papers of an aristocrat who supported the rebels, officials have said.
The manuscript was discovered at the West Sussex Record Office in the southern English city of Chichester by a team of researchers led by two Harvard University academics.
Tests supported the hypothesis that it was produced in the 1780s, West Sussex County Council said earlier this week -- just a few years after the declaration itself was issued in 1776.
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The document "is the only other contemporary manuscript copy of the Declaration of Independence on parchment apart from the signed copy at the National Archives in Washington DC," known as the Matlack Declaration, a council statement said earlier this week.