Success for a 2-day inter-disciplinary workshop about parchments

The first time experts in scientific and historical researches gather around the topic of parchments.

The Pergamenum21 project (*), led by Prof Olivier Deparis, brought UNamur teams of biologists, chemists, conservators, historians and physicians together with international research groups involved in cultural heritage science.

Inter-disciplinary in essence, the workshop « Physics of parchments » held on 28 & 29 November 2019 hosted speakers from Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as speakers from the UNamur institutes NISM (Namur Institute of Structured Matter) and PaTHs (Patrimoines, Transmissions, Héritages).

During the 2 days, 72 participants attended 15 talks grouped in 6 sessions organized around the involved disciplines and techniques – analytical methods, bio-archeology, conservation, history, physical optics and restoration – showing the importance of the synergies between the different approaches. 

At the crossroad of different approaches

From the study of the Orval abbey parchments to the study of the Chartres library, through the restoration of historical documents, the identification of animal skins used as writing support, the study of medieval music manuscripts or the non-invasive physical analysis techniques: passionate speakers explaining fascinating topics to passionate participants, underlining a real synergy between the topics.

The goal of this workshop was to foster the networking between the various projects currently running across Europe. Target well achieved for the researchers of this relatively small but active community who just begin to know each other and are willing to collaborate.  Paul Bertrand (UCL) concluded the workshop by saying that “The different disciplines are complementary and collaborative research is necessary to better understand the different issues involved ».  Probably the start of an adventure?


(*) Pergamenum21 is a project of the Namur Transdisciplinary Research Impulse (NaTRIP) programme of the University of Namur. The project started in 2014 and received an additional grant in 2016 from the Fonds Jean-Jacques Comhaire of the Fondation Roi Baudouin (FRB).

The workshop was also supported by the FNRS and the NISM and PaTHs institutes.


More information

Contact: Olivier Deparis - The workshop abstract book is available online.