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This content is taken from the University of Birmingham's online course, The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands. Join the course to learn more.


There are different ways of gaining information from the material study of early manuscripts that can help supplement the information gained by the expert eye of a conservator.

In the first instance, visual analysis can tell us much about the characteristics of a manuscript such as the materials (for example parchment or papyrus), evidence of use or damage (such as handling damage or scorch marks from candles), evidence of construction methods (such as sewing holes), and evidence of fillers (such as chalk layers). These visual clues can prompt us to try different technologies to answer questions about the materials and construction of manuscripts.

In this activity, we will address the following questions:

  • How can technology assist in research with the Qur’an and other manuscripts?
  • What technology is available? (Multi-spectral imaging, ultra-violet etc)?
  • What can such techniques add to our understanding?
  • What are the considerations when using these techniques?

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This article is from the free online course:

The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands

University of Birmingham