Modern or last known locations

All matters related to the provenance of a document are encoded in the Manuscript Description (<msDesc>) portion of the TEI header. In particular, they are placed within the <history> subsection (see further the general section on provenance).

Relevant element documentation (TEI):

When producing a scholarly edition of a pre-modern text, it is often essential to encode what is known about the modern history of observation and recording. Ideally, this account begins with the discovery of the text-bearing object (findspot), details each substantive subsequent instance of reporting, and culminates in a report of the last-known or last-observed location. Such a history can provide important insight into the likely original location of the object. It places both published bibliography and unpublished archival materials (such as early travelers' notebooks) into a chronological sequence that is sometimes crucial to determining the origins of variant readings and supplements. The editor can use this history to signal her own moments of interaction with the text-bearing object and, in conjunction with inventory and repository information encoded elsewhere in the edition, can equip the reader with the ability to locate, verify, and build upon the present edition.

Just like the description of discovery and place of finding, TEI/EpiDoc uses a separate <provenance> element to record each subsequent instance of modern observation, including the final "last known location". Extended prose can be used, but it is best practice to markup the spatial and temporal components wherever possible in order to facilitate subsequent processing, search index creation, and the like.

EpiDoc recognizes the following values for the type attribute on <provenance>:

  • <provenance type="found">: see Findspot and find context
  • <provenance type="observed">: indicates any event involving observation of the text-bearing object
  • <provenance type="autopsy">: a special case of <provenance type="observed"> during which an editor of the current edition directly examined the text-bearing object and transcribed the text
  • <provenance type="not-observed">: a report of an unsuccessful attempt or attempts to find a previously reported text-bearing object

Here is an example adapted from the Inscriptions of Aphrodisias:

<history>
 <origin>
  <origDate
    evidence="reign titulature lettering"
    datingMethod="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar"
    notBefore-custom="0250-12"
    notAfter-custom="0251-01">
December 250 - January 251</origDate>
  <origPlace>Theatre of Aphrosidias: north parodos wall</origPlace>
 </origin>
 <provenance
   xml:id="copy-picenini"
   type="found"
   notBefore="1705-08-19"
   notAfter="1705-08-23">
The first known copy of the inscription was made by Picenini in 1705
   (10102, 30v), whence Sherard (10101, 41). The stone was evidently reused in the late antique
   construction of the city walls, having been moved from from its original location at the
   theatre to its present location, enmured in the western portion of the south wall of the
   city.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="copy-wood"
   type="observed"
   notBefore="1750-10-01"
   notAfter="1750-10-03">
Copied by Wood (14, f45v), but not published.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="copy-raoul"
   type="observed"
   notAfter="1835">
Copied by Raoul-Rochette.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="copy-fellows"
   type="observed"
   when="1840">
Copied by Fellows.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="copy-loew"
   type="observed"
   when="1841">
Copied by Loew.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="copy-bailie"
   type="observed"
   when="1842">
Perhaps copied by Bailie.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="copy-waddington"
   type="observed"
   when="1850">
Copied by Waddington.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="record-gaudin"
   type="observed"
   when="1904">
Recorded by Gaudin (142).</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="record-mama"
   type="observed"
   when="1934">
Recorded by the MAMA Expedition.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="record-nyu"
   type="observed"
   when="1965">
Recorded by the NYU Expedition.</provenance>
 <provenance
   xml:id="autopsy-reynolds"
   type="autopsy"
   when="1982">
Text transcribed at the findspot by Reynolds.</provenance>
</history>

Here is another example, adapted from the Corpus of the Inscriptions of Campā:

<history>
 <origin>
  <origPlace type="location">
   <placeName type="templeref="cic-geo:chien-dan">Chiên Đàn</placeName>
  </origPlace>
  <origDate>
   <date
     datingMethod="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar"
     notBefore-custom="1000"
     notAfter-custom="1025">
early 11<hi rend="superscript">th</hi> century</date>
   <note xml:space="preserve">We believe that this inscription is to be dated earlier than previous scholars have assumed. See Cf. <bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:ECIC-III"/>: <biblScope>454 n. 36</biblScope></bibl>.</note>
  </origDate>
 </origin>
 <provenance type="observednotAfter="1892">
  <p xml:space="preserve">This boulder was found before 1892, when it was first mentioned in the literature (<bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:paris-1892"/>: <biblScope>141</biblScope></bibl>), and said to have been observed at the <quote>towers of <placeName>An-don</placeName></quote>. It was mentioned again in 1896 (<bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:aymonier-1896a"/></bibl> and <bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:aymonier-1896b"/>: <biblScope>94</biblScope></bibl>) as <quote>inscription of <placeName>Qua My</placeName>, at 60 km to the South slightly eastward of Tourane</quote>, and tentatively assigned to the 11th century CE. The inscription was inventoried as <ptr target="#inv-general"/> in <bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:coedes-1908"/>: <biblScope>44</biblScope></bibl>, in association with the place name <placeName>Hoà-mi</placeName>; inscription and stone were inventoried <bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:parmentier-1909"/>: <biblScope>278</biblScope></bibl>, correctly attributed to the Chiên Đàn site (here spelt Chiên Đàng), and assigned to the late 11th century CE.</p>
 </provenance>
 <provenance type="observedwhen="1900">
  <p>Moved by C. Paris to his concession in Phong Lệ in 1900, and from there to the antiquities
     park in Tourane in 1901.</p>
 </provenance>
 <provenance type="observednotAfter="1919">
  <p xml:space="preserve">Registered in the Tourane Museum in 1919, with inventory number <ptr target="#inv-musee-parmentier"/> (<bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:parmentier-1919"/>: <biblScope>12</biblScope></bibl>), that was subsequently mentioned in the improved inventory of inscriptions (<ptr target="cic-bibl:coedes-1923"/>).</p>
 </provenance>
 <provenance type="observednotBefore="2009">
  <p>We identified fragment A encased in a wall of the Đà Nẵng Museum in 2009. It has since then
     been removed from the encasing and according to our latest information is now kept in
     storage. We observed fragment B <foreign>in situ</foreign> on <date when="2009-09-20"/>.</p>
 </provenance>
 <provenance type="not-observednotBefore="2009">
  <p xml:space="preserve">We were unable to find fragment C during any of our visits to Vietnam since 2009.<note>From the earliest references, the sources speak of an inscription in three fragments. <bibl><ptr target="cic-bibl:parmentier-1919"/></bibl> suggests that the original rock was willfully split into three fragments <quote>at the hands of the coolies of Paris</quote>; he mentions that the fragment held in the Museum had been <quote>detached from the block and transported at the order of C. Paris to his concession of Phong-lệ before 1900; brought to the Tourane Garden in 1901 and registered under the provisional number n° 105</quote>. We think that these accusations of vandalism may not be fair, because Camille Paris himself, in the first ever report of the inscription, clearly states that the stone was already broken in three pieces when he found it. For reasons unknown to us, this report is not cited in any of the publications of Parmentier and Cœdès, and could thus come to be forgotten by subsequent generations of scholars.</note>
  </p>
 </provenance>
</history>

Responsibility for this section

  1. author, Tom Elliott
  2. author, Gabriel Bodard
  3. author, Charlotte Roueché
  4. author, Arlo Griffiths
Date: 2014-05-06