International Conference ‘Medieval Documents as Artefacts, 1100-1600’ - call for papers

International Conference

‘Medieval Documents as Artefacts, 1100-1600’

Maastricht, The Netherlands, February 5-6, 2014

organized by the working group

‘Writing and Writing Practices in the Medieval Low Countries’,

(Schrift en Schriftdragers in de Nederlanden in the Middeleeuwen – SSNM)

in collaboration with the Huygens Institute-ING and the Regional Historic Center Limburg 



This conference is devoted to the physical appearance of documents in the High and Late Middle Ages. Artefacts that survive from medieval written culture can roughly be divided into two categories. On the one hand there are manuscripts – historical, literary and other – which are usually kept in libraries. These objects are carefully catalogued, not just for their contents but also for their material features. Moreover, they frequently feature in studies that are exclusively interested in their physical appearance, discussing, for example, the codicology or palaeography of manuscripts from the same genre (liturgicalbooks, Bibles), location (monastic house, region, country) or scribe. On the other hand, a wide range of documentary material survives from the Middle Ages, which is kept in the archives – charters, registers, cartularies, account books and rolls, and the like. Of these archival documents, mainly charters havebeen traditionally studied in much detail, quite often combining the research of the external features –palaeography, writing supports, tags and seals – with the study of the internal features, such as language and text structure. Hitherto, scholars studying the material forms of documents kept in libraries and those researching the

records preserved in archives seem to have been living in separate worlds. This conference aims to bring them together by encouraging a material-based focus in the study of documentary sources. Through a broad range of papers it will be shown what kind of studies may be most fruitful, what methods may be used, and how the physical features of documentary sources may impact our understanding of their

production and use. While the conference aims to cover a broad range of material studies, submissions can include, but are not limited to the following topics: 

· Writing supports (types, preparation, use);

· Traces of use and keeping (methods of archiving and storage as witnessed by physical features);

· Scripts and scribes (types and application of documentary scripts, relationship to book script);

· Sewing and binding (techniques of gathering the material, preferences and reasons for doing so);

· Digital Humanities (methods and approaches for computational analysis).

The conference is organized by the working group ‘Writing and Writing Practices in the Medieval Low Countries’ (‘Schrift en Schriftdragers in de Nederlanden in the Middeleeuwen – SSNM)’, a network of Belgian and Dutch scholars with the aim to promote the study of codicology, palaeography and diplomatics and to narrow the gaps between these disciplines. It is planned to publish the papers as a handbook on the codicology, palaeography and diplomatics of documentary sources. 

KEY LECTURES will be given by:

Prof. dr. Peter Gumbert (Leiden University)

Prof. dr. Benoît-Michel Tock (Université de Strasbourg) 


Abstracts (maximum 500 words, in English) should be sent before October 20 2013 to Dr. Eef Dijkhof ( Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. ).


Prof. dr. Olivier Guyotjeannin (École Nationale des Chartes, Paris), Prof. dr. Marco Mostert (University of Utrecht), Prof. dr. Jan Burgers (University of Amsterdam), Dr. Jean-François Nieus (University of Namur),

Em. Prof. dr. Walter Prevenier (Ghent University) Em. Prof. dr. Thérèse de emptinne (Ghent University),

Prof. dr. Els De Paermentier (Ghent University), Dr. Erik Kwakkel (Leiden University), Dr. Geertrui Van Synghel, Dr. Eef Dijkhof (Huygens Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis),

Dr. Hildo Van Engen (Streekarchief Langstraat Heusden Altena).


Jan Burgers (University of Amsterdam), Eef Dijkhof (Huygens Instituut voor Nederlandse Geschiedenis),

Els De Paermentier (Ghent University).


Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes


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