Ira RABIN | Oliver HAHN
(BAM Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und –prüfung, Berlin, Germany)
Keywords: carbon inks, iron-gall inks, mixed inks , medieval manuscripts
While studying the socio-geographic history of inks, division 4.5 (Kunst- und Kulturgutanalyse) of the BAM (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung) in Berlin together with the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures in Hamburg has developed a protocol for ink analysis. It consists of a primary screening to determine the type of the ink, and a subsequent in-depth analysis using several spectroscopic techniques.
Using this protocol we can assist scholars in addressing a rather broad range of historical questions that can’t be answered unequivocally through scholarly research alone. Among these are investigations on collaboration between scribes and scriptoria, on the usage and annotation of manuscripts and on their path through time and space in general. Our research can thus help to reconstruct the circumstances of the production of written heritage as well as their history and transmission.
In this presentation we will demonstrate the use of our protocol for the reconstruction of the history of the Codex Germanicus 6 from the Hamburg State and University library, an important 15th century manuscript transmitting among other texts Wolfram von Eschenbachs epic Parzival.
We will also offer a brief report on the recent work conducted on parchment manuscripts in the Austrian National Library.
Relevance for the session: KNowledge of the ink type and composition helps to compare, reconstruct and connect manuscripts
• Cohen Z., Kindzorra E., Hahn O., Glaser L., Łojewski T., Rabin I., Composition of the primary inks in medieval palimpsests – effects of ink removal ,Opuscula Musealia 23 (2015) 75-82; I. Rabin (2017), Building a Bridge from the Dead Sea Scrolls, , DOI: