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Messages to Posterity: Tower Capsules in the German Lands

Lucerne Jesuit Church

Both golden spheres on top of the Jesuit church at Lucerne / Switzerland are known to have held deposits. Pic: BK.

People, Sites & Memory Since the Middle Ages

 
A Gerda Henkel Foundation project hosted by My-Parish at Warwick History

 
For many centuries, communities in and around Austria, Germany and Switzerland have placed documents, images and objects intended for posterity into spheres located at the top of prominent buildings. Where and why was this peculiar form of trans-generational communication practiced, how did descendants respond to recovered deposits and which insights can historians gain from the phenomenon? This 'work in progress' website (short address: https://warwick.ac.uk/towercapsulesLink opens in a new window) provides information on sites, research activities and materials gathered during field work and archive / library visits in 2023-24.

Preliminary findings are available open access in an overview article (for the Historische Zeitschrift, in German) & an essay adopting a spatial perspective (in English).

To obtain / supply information please contact the PI: Beat Kümin ( )
Advisory Board: Margareth Lanzinger (Vienna), Arnd Reitemeier (Göttingen), Heinrich R. Schmidt (Bern)

Sites & Sources

 
Discover locations / maps & source samples for Germany, Austria & Switzerland, in particular the regional case studies of:

Activities & Events

 
Access updates on research progress & related events through the PROJECT BLOG - latest post:

  • 12. Rounding off Research
  • JOIN US FOR THE 'PARISH MEMORY' SYMPOSIUM (Warwick, 11 May 2024)

Documents & Scholarship

 
Browse a select bibliography of:

  • archival resources
  • printed primary texts
  • secondary materials
  • project outputs

Press coverage

Radio feature

 
On the lofty position of tower capsules for the SWR2 Matinee programme on the theme of 'Spitzen' (10/12/2023).
 

Spitzen

Videos

  • Tower capsule sites & deposits in Bregenz, Austria (ORF, 'Vorarlberg Heute', 3/4/24: video clip, website article).
  • Autumn 2024: Gerda Henkel Stiftung series on field work in Switzerland.
     

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