Composition Analysis of Writing Materials in Cairo Genizah Documents

Cambridge Genizah Studies Series, Volume 15


Through the application of scientific methods of analysis to a corpus of medieval manuscripts found in the Cairo Genizah, this work aims to gain a better understanding of the writing materials used by Jewish communities at that time, shedding new light not only on the production of manuscripts in the Middle Ages, but also on the life of those Jewish communities.
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Zina Cohen holds a joint PhD (2020) in archaeometry from the École Pratique des Hautes Études, laboratory Saprat and the University of Hamburg. She specialises in the analysis of writing materials to better understand their use during the Middle Ages. Her current work focuses on the analysis of inks and pigments used in a corpus of monastic manuscripts as part of the Coenotur project.
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Résumé [Francais]
Kurzfassung [Deutsch]


1 The Cairo Genizah
 1 Historical Background
 2 Presentation of the Corpus

2 Writing Materials
 1 Writing Surfaces
 2 Writing Inks

3 Experimental Methods
 1 Experimental Protocol

4 Results and Discussion
 1 Use of Writing Surfaces
 2 Ink Typology
 3 Elemental Composition of the Inks and Writing Surfaces within the General Dataset
 4 Conclusion of the Chapter

5 Implications of This Research, Conclusions and Outlook
 1 Inks Detected on Jewish Legal Documents
 2 Arabic Documents
 3 Religious Documents
 4 Autographs of Maimonides
 5 Conclusions and Outlook

Documents Studied
Academics and specialists working in the Cairo Genizah and in writing material characterization.
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