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The Limits of Traditional Methods of Preserving Ethiopian Ge’ez Manuscripts

Authors
  • Haile, Gezae
Type
Published Article
Journal
Libri
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Mar 10, 2018
Volume
68
Issue
1
Pages
33–42
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/libri-2017-0004
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

The aim of the article is to identify the limits of traditional methods of preserving ancient parchment Ge’ez manuscripts found in churches and monasteries of Tigray, Ethiopia. The researcher used interview and observation methods to gather relevant data in regard to manuscript preservation practices in churches and monasteries of Tigray, Ethiopia. General Collection Condition Survey (GCCS) and an Item-by-Item Survey were also employed to assess the physical and preservation status of ancient Ge’ez manuscripts, while survey checklist was used to document preservation condition assessments. It was generally viewed that churches and monasteries in Tigray have been playing a pivotal role in the production as well as preservation of ancient Ge’ez parchment manuscripts, however, the assessment result shows most of the traditional techniques employed by these institutions to preserve manuscripts are neither functional nor strong enough to withstand the ever-growing human and natural impacts on these priceless artefacts. Therefore, the paper concludes that in view of the relevance of Ge’ez manuscripts for the Ethiopian people, as well as the poor state of affairs with regard to the preservation and availability of these manuscripts, a new approach that ensures long-term preservation and guarantees their availability for current and future generations should be designed. As a way forward, it is deemed necessary to accomplish in situ conservation and digitization works through scientific procedures and make the digital document available to the wider public using digital library technology. This new approach will enable us to rescue the vanishing literary heritage and unlock the local knowledge contained in those ancient Ge’ez manuscripts through systematic and scientific study as well as to ensure long term preservation.

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