Paleogenomic Studies of Written Artefacts of Different Origin
Artefacts made of animal- and plant-derived material harbor plenty of biological information that can be approached via DNA analyses. This project will study DNA molecules retrieved from a variety of objects of animal or vegetable origin used for the production of written artefacts, including parchment, leather, papyrus, wood, and palm leafs. It aims, firstly, to refine DNA sampling methods with respect to the material properties and preservation states. Secondly, it will compare the objects’ state of preservation with respect to material and storing conditions. Thirdly, it seeks gathering information about the biodeteriorating agents present on historic manuscripts and, eventually, will compile a metadata-base that will help researchers in choosing the appropriate sampling technique and make predictions on DNA molecule survival.
If applicable, non-destructive sampling methods shall serve for collecting DNA material, depending on the material and state of preservation. The subsequent handling of DNA samples retrieved from old manuscripts will take place in laboratory facilities dedicated to the analysis of degraded DNA molecules and in accordance to guidelines for working with ancient DNA molecules. DNA sequence data will be generated using state of the art sequencing techniques (NGS).
The DNA data retrieved by this method allows a comprehensive understanding of the studied material. This includes not only the identification of biodeteriogenic agents present on a material and the identification of the species used for manufacturing artefacts; it will also help to disentangle the complex interrelations of biological materials, manufacturing processes, preservation states, and storing conditions.