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A biocodicological analysis of the medieval library and archive from Orval Abbey, Belgium

Authors: Ruffini-Ronzani, Nicolas; Nieus, Jean-Fran��ois; Soncin, Silvia; Hickinbotham, Simon; Dieu, Marc; Bouhy, Julie; Charles, Catherine; +5 Authors

A biocodicological analysis of the medieval library and archive from Orval Abbey, Belgium

Abstract

Biocodicological analysis of parchments from manuscript books and archives offers unprecedented insight into the materiality of medieval literacy. Using ZooMS for animal species identification, we explored almost the entire library and all the preserved single leaf charters of a single medieval Cistercian monastery (Orval Abbey, Belgium). Systematic non-invasive sampling of parchment collagen was performed on every charter and on the first bifolium from every quire of the 118 codicological units composing the books (1490 samples in total). Within the genuine production of the Orval scriptorium (26 units), a balanced use of calfskin (47.1%) and sheepskin (48.5%) was observed, whereas calfskin was less frequent (24.3%) in externally produced units acquired by the monastery (92 units). Calfskin was preferably used for higher quality manuscripts while sheepskin tends to be the standard choice for ‘ordinary’ manuscript book production. This finding is consistent with thirteenth-century parchment accounts from Beaulieu Abbey (England) where calfskin supply was more limited and its price higher. Our study reveals that the making of archival documents does not follow the same pattern as the production of library books. Although the five earliest preserved charters are made of calfskin, from the 1230s onwards, all charters from Orval are written on sheepskin.

Countries
Denmark, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Parchment media_common.quotation_subject Art history Literacy Animal species media_common Materiality (auditing) Art Identification (biology)

Keywords

collagen, charters, Science, Research Articles, mass spectrometry, Multidisciplinary, parchment, Q, charters; collagen; manuscripts; mass spectrometry; parchment, manuscripts, Organismal and Evolutionary Biology

23 references, page 1 of 3

1. Gullick M. 1991 From parchmenter to scribe: some observations on the manufacture and preparation of medieval parchment based upon a review of the literary evidence. In Pergament.

Geschichte, Struktur, Restaurierung, Herstellung (ed. P Rück), pp. 145-157. Sigmaringen, Germany: Thorbecke.

2. Turner NK. 2018 Materiality of medieval parchment: a response to 'the animal turn'.

Revista hispánica moderna 71, 39-67. (doi:10.

1353/rhm.2018.0007) 3. Fiddyment S et al. 2015 Animal origin of 13thcentury uterine vellum revealed using noninvasive peptide fingerprinting. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 112, 15 066-15 071. (doi:10.

1073/pnas.1512264112) 4. Gobin M. 2015 Inventaire des archives de l'abbaye Notre-Dame d'Orval (1173-1794). Brussels, Belgium: Archives générales du Royaume.

5. Falmagne T. 2017 Die Orvaler Handschriften bis zum Jahr 1628 in den Beständen der Bibliotheque Nationale de Luxembourg und des Grand Séminaire de Luxembourg. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz.

6. Muzerelle D. 2003 Vocabulaire codicologique.

Répertoire méthodique des termes français relatifs aux manuscrits. Paris, France: Comité international de paléographie latine. See http:// www.palaeographia.org/vocabulaire/pages/ vocab2.htm.

7. Gumbert JP. 2010 Words for codices: a codicological terminology in English. See http:// www.cei.lmu.de/extern/VocCod/WOR10-1.pdf.

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    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
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    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Top 10%
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
6
Top 10%
Average
Average
Green
gold
Funded by
EC| B2C
Project
B2C
Beasts to Craft: BioCodicology as a new approach to the study of parchment manuscripts
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 787282
  • Funding stream: H2020 | ERC | ERC-ADG
Validated by funder
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Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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