Cluster of Excellence Understanding Written Artefacts
The Cluster of Excellence Understanding Written Artefacts researches the development and function of written artefacts in manuscript cultures around the world, from their beginnings in ancient Mesopotamia to the digital era. The starting point is always the organic or inorganic artefact consisting of hard or flexible material which bears both writing and traces of the artefact’s production, use, and in some cases adapted use.
The goal is to systematically record and examine the cultural diversity of written artefacts on the basis of their materiality. This will allow us, on the one hand, to recognize recurring patterns and, on the other, to document and preserve the diversity of manuscript cultures, especially in Asia and Africa.
In the last 3 decades, there has been a significant increase in scholarly interest in written artefacts. Improvements in producing, storing, disseminating, and analyzing images and texts have inspired historical and systematic research. Material sciences provides methods that help researchers with the biological and chemical identification of written artefacts. In Asia and Africa, manuscripts and inscriptions are increasingly viewed as part of cultural heritage and the enormous number of manuscripts in these regions are now gradually being cataloged and made accessible. The time has come for the development of a global framework for research on all written artefacts from all over the world, from their origins to the present day.
With 40 researchers from various fields in the humanities and 10 researchers from the natural sciences, computer sciences, and psychology, Understanding Written Artefacts will fortify and expand upon the cooperation between the humanities and natural sciences. Researchers take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between human beings and their writing. This will yield findings that bear directly upon the preservation of objects that form part our common cultural heritage.
Participating faculties: Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Mathematics, Informatics and Natural Sciences
Other participating institutions: Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg University of Technology, Universität zu Lübeck