From manuscript fragments to book history

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Missal, twelfth century

Project leader: Åslaug Ommundsen

The project was funded partly by Bergen Research Foundation and partly by the University of Bergen.

Project members: Michael Robert Gullick (researcher), Astrid Marner (post-doc) og Synnøve Midtbø Myking (PhD candidate).





Medieval manuscript fragments are some of Norway’s most significant testimonies to medieval book history. Through analysis of a selection  of the thousands of manuscript fragments kept in public collections, this project explored the first centuries of book and scribal culture in Norway. The project ended in May 2017, but the research continues.

The focus of the project was primarily on three aspects of Norwegian book culture: 

• The impact of regions and centres in Western Europe, with an emphasis on England (primarily the south-east, including London) and France (primarily the north-west, including Paris)

• The effect of Nordic ecclesiastical collaboration, particularly with Denmark (Lund) in the twelfth and Iceland in the thirteenth century.

• The development of book producing centres in Norway, and how local scriptoria adapted international impulses in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.


Conference report
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Fragmentary Christian Texts of the Middle Ages: Contents, Methods, Challenges, University of Bergen, 11-12 April 2016

In April 2016, the project From Manuscript Fragments to Book History invited scholars to a two-day conference on fragmentary texts from different medieval Christian cultures. The first day was dedicated to papers, in which speakers gave an insight into the current state of research in their fields:...

Virtual manuscripts at fragment.uib.no

We have done some digital experimenting with manuscript fragments, to see if we could 'recreate' some of our medieval manuscripts digitally by piecing together digital images. It would be easier to imagine the lost manuscript and it would be easier to illustrate the condition of our main source material.

We are now presenting a small selection of 'reconstructed' manuscripts. There is only a limited number of fragments from each manuscript, so none of them will ever appear complete. But, as they say in CSI: 'Pieces may be all that we need, as long as we have the right ones.'

Please go to fragment.uib.no and take a look at some of the manuscripts used in Norwegian churches in the Middle Ages!