What Do Paleographers Do? | The Getty Iris
Paleography is the study of old handwriting. Paleographers are specialists who decipher, localize, date, and edit ancient and medieval texts—those written by hand, before the advent of print—making them available for others to read and understand.
Why Paleography Requires Skill and Practice
Even though we have ancient and medieval documents at the ready, nicely preserved in museums, archives, university holdings and libraries, they do require an immense amount of specialist work to be made to “speak up.” Here’s what that work entails: Learning Historical Dialects, Deciphering Writing Systems, Mastering Archaic Abbreviations.
Why Paleography Matters
Once they have learned all these things (and practiced them again and again), paleographers are ready to make a major contribution to scholarship in many different disciplines: Helping Illuminate Language Change, Making Primary Sources Available, Editing Ancient Documents for Publishing.