Core Research Area Manuscript Cultures
Whether centuries-old Arabic Koran, biblical manuscripts or fragments of Homer’s Iliad, manuscripts shaped the world’s cultures long before the appearance of the printed book. Even today they play an important part in many non-European cultures, and they are the focus of Universität Hamburg’s core research area Manuscript Research.
Researchers from various disciplines in the humanities, the natural sciences, computer science, and psychology come together in the Cluster of Excellence Understanding Written Artefacts to expand the cooperation between the humanities and the natural sciences. They take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the relationship between human beings and their writing. This research will yield findings that bear directly upon the preservation of objects that form part our common cultural heritage.
Since 2011, more than 100 Universität Hamburg researchers have been active in the collaborative research center “Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe” (SFB 950), a research unit that, in its regional breadth and disciplinary composition, is unique worldwide. A total of 19 mostly niche disciplines are involved in research on the diverse world of manuscript cultures from an historical as well as a comparative perspective, including 12 from the fields of Asian, African, and European philology.
Researchers have at their disposal an archaeometric laboratory, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology. It features, for example, a special camera and lighting system for making invisible characters on a manuscript visible again, and an X-ray fluorescence spectrometer for analyzing inks, pigments, and more.
Participating faculties and research centers
Key programs and collaborative projects
- Cluster of excellence „Understanding Written Artefacts“
- SFB 950 Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe
- Research Unit FOR 2311 Jewish Scepticism (Maimonides Centre for Advanced Studies)
- GRK 2008 Interconfessionality in the Early Modern Period (in German only)
- BMBF project Bilderfahrzeuge. Aby Warburg’s Legacy and the Future of Iconology