Research Field A
Written artefacts can tell us much more than what meets the eye. Apart from their written content or design, the materials used, and their great variety, they store a wealth of information – regarding production and preparatory treatment, writing practices, use and reuse, storage and deterioration, as well as possible traces of conserving intervention. The concept of material memory, which describes the stratified sum of these traces, tallies with recent developments in codicology under the term ‘stratigraphy’ (‘archaeology of the manuscript book’). Material analysis can un-cover this wealth of information and shed light on the physical, chemical and biological identity, provenance and history of a written artefact by identifying its original and its acquired properties.
The programme of Research Field ‘Artefact Profiling’ aims at the development of novel chemical and physical methods and their implementation for the investigation of organic/biological and inorganic systems. Such technologies and experiments will allow us to understand how and from which materials written artefacts such as manuscripts have been produced and used, and altered in the course of time. In addition, ‘Artefact Profiling’ supports the research, development and application of methods and techniques for the preservation of cultural property in general and of writing artefacts in particular.
Spokesperson: Markus Fischer