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A 12th-century birchbark manuscript (number N955) from Veliky Novgorod, Novgorod, Russia.

Borrowed from Russian берестоло́гия (berestológija) from береста́ (berestá, birchbark) +‎ -ло́гия (-lógija, suffix indicating the study of a particular subject).



berestology (uncountable)

  1. (palaeography) The scientific study of birchbark manuscripts.
    • 1966, The Current Digest of the Soviet Press, volume XVIII, number 19, Columbus, Oh.: American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, ISSN 0011-3425, OCLC 1565621, page 23:
      Using certain inscriptions found in the area, the documents pertaining to the affairs of one of the hereditary ruling dynasties of Novgorod, he constructed an entire detective story, entertaining the reader and acquainting him with many questions of the new science of berestology.
    • 1996 March, Jos Schaeken, “The Present State of Russian Studies in the Netherlands”, in R[oger] Comtet, A. G. F. van Holk, and W[erner] Lehfeldt, editors, Russian Linguistics: International Journal for the Study of Russian and Other Slavic Languages, volume 20, number 1, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, DOI:10.1007/BF02529847, ISSN 0304-3487, JSTOR 40160481, OCLC 612370674, section 3.2 (Old Russian), page 135:
      A relatively new field of research in Old Russian linguistics is berestology, the study of the numerous birchbark documents from Novgorod and other medieval Russian towns. In the Netherlands, two scholars have recently published articles on berestology and related issues: [...]
    • 2004 October, Roland Marti, “Franklin, S[imon]: Writing, Society and Culture in Early Rus, c. 950–1300, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2002, XVI + 325 pp., 14 pl. [book review]”, in R[oger] Comtet, W[erner] Lehfeldt, and Jos Schaeken, editors, Russian Linguistics: International Journal for the Study of Russian and Other Slavic Languages, volume 28, number 3, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, DOI:10.1007/s11185-004-1973-8, ISSN 0304-3487, JSTOR 40160770, OCLC 612370674, page 433:
      This is an unusual book in several aspects. Firstly, it presents a synthesis of current knowledge about the written heritage of early Rus in many fields, palaeography (in its restricted meaning, concentrating on what the author calls "parchment literacy", p. 22), berestology (I may be forgiven for coining this term to designate the study of birch-bark documents), diplomatics, numismatics, and sphragistics, not to forget occasional forays into the history of art and archeology proper.
    • 2017 August, Jos Schaeken, “Comments on Birchbark Documents Found in the Twenty-first Century”, in Russian Linguistics: International Journal for the Study of Russian and Other Slavic Languages[1], volume 41, Dordrecht: Springer, DOI:10.1007/s11185-017-9178-0, ISSN 0304-3487, OCLC 612370674, archived from the original on 30 July 2018, section 2.4 (Berestology Meets Epigraphy), page 132:
      A telling example of the fruitful interaction between berestology and epigraphy is N1000, which was already cited at the beginning of this paper. The name of one of the senders of the letter, Kyas, appears to be of Turkic rather than Slavic origin [...].
    • 2018, Simeon Dekker, “The Background: Communicatively Heterogeneous Letters”, in Old Russian Birchbark Letters: A Pragmatic Approach (Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics; 42), Leiden; Boston, Mass.: Brill Rodopi, →ISBN, ISSN 0169-0124, section 2.7 (Discussion), page 27:
      The abovementioned research marks the start of a new research area in berestology. The most tangible result is that more accurate interpretations of individual texts have been given, thanks to the discovery of (hidden) communicative heterogeneity.
    • 2018, Jos Schaeken, “Preface”, in Voices on Birchbark: Everyday Communication in Medieval Russia (Studies in Slavic and General Linguistics; 43), Leiden; Boston, Mass.: Brill, →ISBN, ISSN 0169-0124, page XII:
      In Russia, the study of birchbark letters is sometimes known informally as berestologija (‘berestology’), derived from the word beresta ‘birchbark’. For many years, ‘berestology’ has been an interdisciplinary research venture that engages archaeologists, philologists, linguists, and historians.


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