Epigraphy, scholarly discipline dealing with the collection, research and publication of annotated editions of inscriptions (architectural and monument inscriptions, on memorials, windows and bells, around frescoes etc.). While ancient and early Christian e. are well-established fields of research, the e. of the Middle Ages and the modern age is still being developed. Since inscriptions are an invaluable source of historical information, the research approach is interdisciplinary (palaeography, history of art, history, linguistics, ethnology etc.). The Epigraphic Commission of the Austrian Academy of Sciences collects and compiles the data, which are then stored in picture archives (backup copies), and edits Austrian and South Tirolean inscriptions from the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period. In co-operation with epigraphic commissions of all the German academies, an extensive series of German inscriptions is in process ("Die Deutschen Inschriften"). In the Vienna series, the volumes 1 (Burgenland), 2/1 (Carinthia: Spittal an der Drau and Hermagor), 3/1 (Lower Austria: Amstetten and Scheibbs) have already been published, 12 volumes are in preparation.
Literature#W. Koch (ed.), Epigraphik, 1982; idem (ed.), Epigraphik, 1988.