Die Deutschen Inschriften des Mittelalters und der Frühen Neuzeit
In a first phase between 1970 and 1981, the Lower Saxonian art monument inventories and local-historical publications were analyzed in Goettingen with regard to the inscriptions contained therein. On the basis of this collection, an archive of Lower Saxonian inscriptions was created, which comprises about 10,000 numbers and is made accessible by registries. Concurrently, a second phase began in 1975, in which the individual inscription inventories are edited in accordance with a project plan and are published afterwards.
As it is apparent from the list of publications, for Lower Saxony there are mainly inscription volumes for individual cities available. With the work on the districts Goettingen (published in 2006), Hildesheim (published in 2014), Holzminden (published in 2012) and Northeim (published in 2016), the research on Lower Saxonian inscriptions entered a new phase, in which villages and small towns are now also included. Currently, work is being done on the districts Schaumburg, Osterode, Wolfenbuettel and Greater Hanover.
The larger urban inscriptions corpora of Lower Saxony that have been edited thus far largely consist of inscriptions on funeral monuments and on houses. Inscriptions on ecclesiastical paraphernalia constitute another larger group within the volumes.
One distinctive feature of the Lower Saxonian inscriptions are the house inscriptions from the domain of half-timbered buildings. The broad foundation beams of the Lower Saxonian half-timbered buildings offer space for more extensive texts. The oldest ones date from the second half of the 15th century and usually only indicate the date of construction; from the second half of the 16th century onwards, increasingly longer inscriptions can be found on the houses, which largely consist of quotes from the Bible as well as of idioms in German and Latin. The house inscriptions are often closely related to ornamental and figurine carvings. On houses with large pictorial programs, inscriptions also serve to identify and explain the depictions.