From Instrument to Document – The Afterlife of Medieval Charters in Archives
The aim of the project is a comparative analysis of dorsal notes of selected archives from the Early and High Middle Ages, up until the middle of the 12th century. The regional focus is on the Carolingian empire north of the Alps, corresponding to the modern regions of France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. The project is the first comparative analysis of early medieval dorsal notes. These are found on the backside of many medieval charters. Charters have been of interest to historians mainly because of the legal transactions they contain, which are one of the chief sources of our knowledge about the middle ages. This content can be found on the front side of the charter. The backside of the charters was used for a variety of purposes, for example archival notes or short summaries of the content of the charter. They are important sources not only for archival history, but also for the usage and reception of the charters. The project combines textual and material analysis, and hence cooperates closely with research field A Artefact Profiling. The paleographical study is supplemented by the scientific methods of the Cluster’s Mobile Laboratory.