ICCROM Register of Heritage Samples Archives
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Historic Parchment

Type Collection

Date of creation of the archive


Date of closure of the archive


Creator(s) of the archive

University of Ljubljana, Prof. dr. Matija Strlič

Summary Description

A collection of approximately 90 historic parchment samples was gathered from various commercial sources for the purpose of scientific research. These samples represent documents, bookbinding fragments, and six further samples. Originating from the 15th to 20th century, the collection includes objects of varying ages, states of degradation, manufacture methods, environmental histories and uses. The majority of the samples are of British, French and Italian origin. Most samples contain iron gall ink inscriptions while some have carbon-based and other inks. The samples are documented, including physical measurements, observations and images, all associated with unique Sample IDs and stored within a digital catalogue.


Type and number of units

Object type

Bookbinding parchment fragment
Manuscript fragment
Reference material

Material type

Animal material

Geographic Distribution

France, Italy and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Statement of Significance

The collection consists of documents and bookbinding fragments acquired solely for the purpose of scientific study, including material analysis. These genuine and historic objects can broaden the scientific understanding of the material history and manufacture of parchments. The collection represents a wide variability in ages, states of degradation, manufacturing methods, environmental histories and uses throughout history. The samples have been analysed using various analytical methods and both the samples and the associated data are available for further research endeavours. Following the analyses, the collection is stored in stable storage conditions. A digitised catalogue and a database containing all the measurements and related metadata are available for reference and research purposes.


Yes - upon request

Access requirements

The collection can be accessed by contacting the person in charge or the HSLL laboratory manager. Access to the collection is evaluated on a case-by-case basis taking into account the validity of the scientific research question and its feasibility. In dealing with destructive sampling requests we adhere to the ICON Ethical Sampling guidance.

Type of users

Professionals, cultural heritage organizations, conservators, and researchers involved in cultural heritage research.


Conservation Science
Historical ink
Ink manufacture
Non-destructive technique
Parchment making
Reference collection

Finding aids

The collection, along with the analytical techniques employed, is comprehensively described in an open-access publication (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1179/2047058413Y.0000000100).

External link

Name of the web site
Heritage Science Laboratory Ljubljana: Reference Historic Material Collections