First research trip of Project W.A.L.D. completed

WALD Project
For the W.A.L.D. project, Max Grund screened 150 archival units in the Amberg State Archives. Photo: Max Grund

Investigating historical forest-human relations in an interdisciplinary way is the goal  of the W.A.L.D. project, funded by an Internal Grant of the Cluster of Excellence ROOTS. As a case study, the working group has chosen the late medieval and early modern Parkstein-Weiden community office in modern-day Bavaria. The participants expect to gain new insights into the environmental and cultural connectivity between the population of that time and the special natural space of the forest. The gradual transformation of the forest through human intervention had an impact not least on the social fabric of the wood-dependent society itself.

For the sub-disciplines of the project working with historical written sources, Max Grund undertook a research trip to the state archives of Amberg in the first half of September. This archive contains a large part of the written records of the Principality of Pfalz-Sulzbach as well as its share of the Parkstein-Weiden Community Office. In a first inspection, Max Grund examined the historical forest accounts of the office for their evaluability in questions of the changing use of (former) forests. In a further step, he created complete digital copies of the relevant files for selected sample years, which will subsequently serve as source material for the working group. In a further step, he also screened various forest regulations, forest descriptions and other files on forest use, which should help to illuminate the uses of the forest and people's reactions to its change as broadly as possible from a historiographical perspective. In this way, a total of around 150 archival units of record with over 75,000 pages were screened and useful pieces were selected. Thanks are due to the team of the Amberg State Archives for their collegial support in the excavation of the unusually large quantities of records.

In a further step, an archaeological field campaign on site and a second research trip to the Bavarian Main State Archives in Munich are to follow as part of the project. The results of the first trial studies will be discussed at an international workshop at the end of January 2024.



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