The Algorithms That Automatically Date Medieval Manuscripts
Around a million medieval documents have no date making their historical significance difficult to quantify. But automated computer techniques look set to revolutionise the work for historians
An important aspect of any society is the way it keeps records of property and land transactions so that ownership can be properly established and disputes resolved. In medieval Britain, this process was largely carried out by religious or royal institutions which recorded transactions in documents, written in Latin, called charters.
Today, more than a million charters survive either as originals or more often as ancient copies. They provide a remarkable insight into the pressures at work in medieval politics, economics and society between the tenth and fourteenth centuries in England.
For example, historians can use these documents to study the rise and fall of military and religious organisations. A good example is the…
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