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Oldest Written Documents in Estonia Uploaded
23 Apr 2012 EWR Online

Kristopher Rikken, ERR News
A project to digitize the oldest parchment documents in the country is now complete.

The State Archives, Tallinn City Archive and History Museum led the effort, which started in 2010.

The documents contain information valuable to studying the history of settlement and agriculture in medieval and post-Renaissance Estonia as well as political, military and cultural history, said the institutions.

The oldest written historical sources are on parchment and date from the 13th century, the oldest one of all from 1237: in it, papal legate William of Modena communicates a decree from Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II regarding donations to the church. The original document is in the the Tallinn City Archive's magistrate's collection.

From the same era is the oldest record in the State Archives, from 1240, and, from the Estonian History Museum, an indulgence from Pope Innocent IV from 1247.

The latest parchment documents are from the mid-19th century, but the majority are from the 14th to the 16th century.

The digitization involved making copies of the recto and verso sides of 4,122 archive pages. The digital copies are life-size.

The work was funded via the Economic Affairs Ministry from EU structural assistance for promoting information society.

The digitized parchment documents are available for public use at http://www.ra.ee/pargamendid/

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