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Hands-On English and Linguistics

Unlocking the secrets of the past in medieval manuscripts

The medieval world dates roughly between 500 CE and 1500 CE – about 1,000 years. It’s a long time, and it’s a time of astonishing change, drama, and turmoil. By now, you might be thinking about knights in shining armour, damsels in distress, and dragons breathing fire. And we have all that! But there is so much more …

We are incredibly lucky here at Otago, because Dunedin is home to one of the largest collections of medieval manuscripts in the southern hemisphere – some of the manuscripts are 1,000 years old! In this project, you’re going to get to use real medieval manuscripts, learn how to write like a medieval scribe, learn how books were made, and learn how to read ancient languages.

Some of our medieval manuscripts have never been researched – some have even mysteriously gone missing – so you will get to unlock their secrets for the first time! By the end of the week, you’ll have produced your own manuscript to take home, written just like a medieval scribe would have, even using real gold to produce illuminations!

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