Script and Text in Space and Time

AM Dipl. Dan. Fasc. LX 22. Letter from Anna Pedersdatter to St Clara Convent in Roskilde. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

This interdisciplinary humanities project combines the qualitative and quantitative approaches of philology, history, and language technology. The project will: 

  • provide dynamic and interactive digital editions of diplomas, that is, historical documents with judicial contents
  • perform systematic research into the script and language of the diplomas
  • survey the enterprise of diplomatics in a convent in medieval Denmark and the persons and places involved
  • develop an open source system for research, publication, and dissemination of handwritten texts in digital and printed format
  • develop tools for automatic linguistic analysis of texts as well as automatic dating, localizing, and identifying scribal schools based on machine-learning techniques

Purpose:

The project will shape an entirely new empirical and methodological basis for the study of Danish texts from the Middle Ages. Diplomas are public documents from the Middle Ages with judicial content. They have the characteristic of being both self-dated and localized, and survive in their original form, which makes them a fixed reference for scribal and text-historical investigation. The project will thus lead to a number of insights and discoveries, for example regarding the criteria for dating and localizing medieval texts, as well as criteria for identifying scribal hands. The study of the documents' contents will furthermore give unique insight into the conditions of a medieval convent. Last but not least, the investigation of historical scripts will provide a much better understanding of the development of writing in Denmark.