The Árni Magnússon Institute in Icelandic Studies has received a grant in the amount of ISK 200 million from the Danish fund A.P. Møller og Hustru Chastine Mc-Kinney Møllers Fond til almene Formaal for its project Archive Arnamagnæana. The objective of the project is to create a digital database of historical charters and records, apographs and books of letters from the Árni Magnússon collection. The project will be carried out in collaboration with scholars at the Arnamagnæan Institute in Copenhagen, the National Archives of Norway in Oslo and the National Archives of Iceland, which are all institutes that retain items from the Árni Magnússon’s collection of records and diplomas. Digital photographs will be attached to their catalog records as well as references to printed editions when applicable. Þórunn Sigurðardóttir, research professor at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies will oversee the project.
Historical charters are some of the most significant sources of information when it comes to the history of Iceland, Denmark and Norway from the medieval period through the 18th century as they most often include information on where and when they were written. The collection in its entirety consists of about 6000 original charters and over 10,000 first-hand copies of originals (some of which have not been preserved) in addition to several books of letters and books of records. These include land survey registers, church records, wills and testaments, title deeds of property, purchase and marriage contracts, registers of rights to items washed ashore and cartularies. These sources shed light on legal history, church history, historical linguistics, onomastics, paleography, the development of spelling systems and many other areas of study. Although most of these historical documents derive from the public administrations of the Danish-Norwegian kingdom, they also contain information on the lives and circumstances of common people. They provide insight into a world that vanished long ago.