K. Sieckmeyer © Uruk-Warka-Sammlung, DAI Orient-Abteilung
Collaborative Research Cluster
Material Text Cultures


Struggle for the Crown – A Podcast by Matthias Kuhn

In his podcast "Wars of the Roses" Matthias Kuhn takes us into the world of the tangled English relationship feuds at the time of Richard the Third. Strategic marriages were supposed to pave the way to the throne of England. The historian tells the story of a family that initially helped shape the eventful history of the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century and ultimately perished from its proximity to power and rule. It concerns the fates of Kingmaker Richard Neville, his wife Anne Beauchamp and their descendants. Within just 30 years, the tide turned for this family several times in brutal and cynical ways. Curious about the story? Then have a listen here.

Mittelaltertag 2021 goes digital

This year's Mittelaltertag (Medieval Day) will take place on July 17, with the participation of numerous SFB researchers. Initiated by Heidelbergs German Medieval Studies in 2011, the Mittelaltertag serves as a meeting place between the university and the city. This year's program, which will take place mainly digitally, includes geocaching, live talks, podcasts and videos. Already, some of the contributions are available online. For more information, click here (in German).

Passionate cyclist and archaeologist – ZDF feature about Polly Lohmann

"Per Rad in die Römerzeit" (By bike into Roman times) - this is the title of a feature about Polly Lohmann shown by ZDF in its series "sonntags" (Sundays). The 34-year-old archaeologist is curator of the Collection of Classical Antiquities at Heidelberg University and a member of the SFB 933. In 2017, she cycled from France to Spain, Morocco and Tunisia to visit ancient sites on a travel grant from the German Archaeological Institute. The feature, which went online June 13, is available in the ZDF Media Library. For more information, please click here (in German).

Challenging traditional ideas – an interview with Babett Edelmann-Singer

"That sounds odd" - when Babett Edelmann-Singer stumbles across something that doesn't seem convincing to her, her curiosity springs into action. Then she tries to clear the fog that has settled over antiquity in the course of the millennia. In doing so, she approaches the pre-Christian reality by investigating objects of that time. For objects are by no means mere symbols of human activity, as she explains. Rather, the artifacts develop their own impact and language through their special relationship to humans and the natural environment, which the Ancient Historian elicits from them through thorough analyses. In the summer semester of 2021, she is researching and teaching as a visiting professor at the Collaborative Research Center 933 "Material Text Cultures". An interview with Babett Edelmann-Singer can be found here (in German).

"No one can resist the effect of typography"

Last year, the Heidelberg Collaborative Research Center 933 "Material Text Cultures" and the "Typo-Passage: Micromuseum for Design of and with Type" from Vienna joined forces for an unusual cooperation: the modern visualization of research aspects with the help of typographic means. The first result in the form of a five-part poster series can now be seen in the Typo-Passage in the MuseumsQuartier Wien / Q21. A report about the project can be found here.

The Mystery of the Past – An Interview with Sebastian Watta

As a 12-year-old, Sebastian Watta visited churches and monasteries on his own initiative. And while others went to sports clubs or choirs in the afternoon, the teenager studied for his Graecum. After completing his university degree in Christian archaeology, art history and theology, the 41-year-old is now researching sacred buildings from late antiquity. Here, he focuses on inscriptions and the question of what effect they had on contemporaries and posterity. Watta has been working at the SFB since the beginning of this year in subproject A01 UP2. An interview with the archaeologist can be found here (in German).

Transatlantic cooperation on the "Anthologia Palatina"

With 3,765 epigrams on 614 pages, it is the most comprehensive collection of its kind and thus of inestimable value for science: the Anthologia Palatina. Researchers of the SFB 933 "Material Text Cultures" are working on a digital partial edition of the work, which will not only provide transcriptions and translations, but also additional background information such as archaeological findings on the poems. This year, the project underwent a surprising expansion after Canadian scientists from the Université de Montréal became aware of it. Further information can be found here (in German).

Thematic Fields

The interdisciplinary work at the CRC 933 is organized in seven thematic fields. They are based on the method of praxeologically oriented analysis of artefacts, which builds upon the examination of materiality, topology, and presence as well as on the reconstruction of praxeographies. The thematic fields stretch across the three research areas: A ‚Social Spaces‘, B ‚Social Fields‘, and C ‚Reflection (Metatexts)‘. The thematic fields are designed to make times and spaces comparable with regard to identifiable areas of social practice (ritual-religious, scientific-epistemic, political-administrative), and they serve further development of the theory and methods of the CRC 933.



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Goals & Central Ideas

The Collaborative Research Centre 933 (CRC 933) examines script-bearing artefacts: pillars, steles, portals, tombstones, potsherds, amulets, scrolls, papyri, parchment codices; to name only a few. The researchers involved investigate a lot of questions: How and under which circumstances were these artefacts produced? In which spacial arrangements were they located? Who had access to them? How and in which contexts were they used? Continue reading


MTK-Series' "Materiale Textkulturen"

The MTK-Series Material Text Cultures is the Collaborative Research Centre's publication organ. We publish collected volumes and monographs that focus on the CRC's main research questions, meaning the materiality and presence of writing in non-typographic societies. All volumes are open access and can be found here.

5300 Jahre Schrift

In 50 articles, the volume "5300 Jahre Schrift" published by das Wunderhorn presents 50 written artifacts, which are as diverse as their origins and their writers and readers – including Mesopotamian tax lists in cuneiform script, Roman temple inscriptions, ancient Egyptian books of the dead or even street art and hypertext. More information

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