Library of Congress: The Giant Bible of Mainz Digitized by the Library of Congress. “The Giant Bible of Mainz, one of the last handwritten giant bibles in Europe, has now been digitized by the Library of Congress, ensuring online access to an important national treasure from the 15th century…. The Giant Bible is famous for having been copied by a single scribe, who precisely dated his progress between April 4, 1452, and July 9, 1453. These dates are remarkable because they place the creation of this manuscript bible in proximity to the first printed bible crafted in Europe, the Gutenberg Bible.”
Stanford News: Stanford professor of music unravels centuries-old authorship mystery. “Rodin, associate professor of music in the School of Humanities and Sciences, recently evaluated the authorship of the 346 pieces of music attributed to Josquin [ des Prez] (1450–1521) using an approach that blends scientific rigor with methods from the arts and humanities. As part of this massive undertaking, Rodin created the Josquin Research Project, a searchable, online database of music by Josquin and his contemporaries.”
Yale News: Machu Picchu older than expected, study reveals. “Machu Picchu, the famous 15th-century Inca site in southern Peru, is up to several decades older than previously thought, according to a new study led by Yale archaeologist Richard Burger.”
Global Times: Chinese museum launches digital protection for nearly 50 Ming Dynasty costume items . “Shan Dong Museum in East China’s Shandong Province launched digital protection for nearly 50 items of ancient costumes of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), filling the gap of digital collection of cultural relics. The museum’s staff will collect textures of costumes from hundreds of years ago and complete the work of modeling these costumes, according to a report by China News Service on Wednesday.”
Hyperallergic: A New Illustrated Database for Women Artists Spans the 15th to 19th Centuries. “‘A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction,’ Virginia Woolf famously said from a college lecture podium in 1928, in what later evolved into a major feminist book. Surely, those two amenities would facilitate the career of many a woman visual artist, too. But even the privileged combination of financial independence and a studio (plus talent, of course) hasn’t been enough to secure many female creatives a place in the pantheon of art history.”
University of Alberta: Using AI to uncover ancient mysteries. “Computing scientists at the University of Alberta are using artificial intelligence to decipher ancient manuscripts. The mysterious text in the 15th century Voynich manuscript has plagued historians and cryptographers since its discovery in the 19th century. This ancient mystery made its way to the artificial intelligence community, where computing science professor Greg Kondrak was keen to lend his expertise in natural language processing to the search. Kondrak and his graduate student Bradley Hauer set out to use computers for decoding the ambiguities in human language using the Voynich manuscript as a case study. Their first step was to address the language of origin, which is exquisitely enciphered on hundreds of delicate vellum pages with accompanying illustrations.”
The Natural History Museum in London has digitized its oldest book and put it online. “The Museum’s Library and Archives has digitised its oldest book, Historia Naturalis, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL). The Museum’s copy is one of only 100 first editions. It was published in 1469, barely 30 years after the invention of the printing press – and about 1,400 years after it was compiled. Its author is Roman philosopher and scholar Gaius Plinius Secundus, commonly known as Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79).” Obviously I can’t read a word of it as it’s Latin, but man, it’s a beautiful book.
Registers from the Archbishops of York have been digitized and put online. “They provide unique insights into ecclesiastical, political and cultural history across the North of England from 1225-1650 – a period that witnessed significant events including the Black Death, the Wars of the Roses, the Reformation and the English Civil War….The website, launched today, provides free access to over 20,000 images of registers.”
The Queens’ College library at Cambridge University will be the focus of a digitizing project. “The college’s Old Library has received £65,800 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an on-going cataloging project, which will see key aspects of its Tudor-period library digitised, allowing them to be accessed online for the first time.”
There is now a Web site devoted to the finds of Arroyo Hondo Pueblo, in New Mexico. “The site includes an archaeological summary of the the project, a chronology, the nine volumes published about the work, a list of the nine dissertations resulting from the research, 37 special reports on subjects such as fiber and feathers, an extensive photo gallery and even reminiscences of excavators, all in an easy-to-navigate form.” The site was occupied, on and off, from about 1300 to about 1425, and is not currently open to the public.