The study of written artefacts requires technical equipment that suits the objects’ characteristics and needs, their location, and the kind of research question and analysis intended. A threefold laboratory system supports the Centre’s study of written artefacts both in Hamburg and abroad, in museums and archives, and in the field.
Its first component is a portable Mobile Lab for worldwide non-invasive analyses of written artefacts. The Mobile Lab operates frequently across Europe and beyond, featuring, amongst other equipment, XRF-spectrometers, a multispectral imaging system and FTIR spectroscopy. Secondly, the Cluster uses the highly effective stationary High Performance Labs at Universität Hamburg, the TUHH and at DESY. These, too, fulfil the highest technological standards and are continually updated, with for example, a dust-free cleanroom that is dedicated exclusively to the analysis of ancient DNA and a laser-coupled HR-ICP-MS as the most recent addition. Eventually, a modular Container Lab will fill the gap between high performance and in situ analysis using portable equipment. Currently under construction, it is designed to be transported to sites, museums and archives around the world and will be equipped with specific problem-oriented lab cells and with the required materials for both non-invasive and micro-invasive material analyses.