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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 inter-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: 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 project findings are available open access in an overview article (for the Historische Zeitschrift, in German) and an essay adopting a spatial perspective (in English).

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

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Sites & Samples

Discover locations & source extracts - LATEST: MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN DATA

News & Blogs

Updates on research & project-related events - LATEST: MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN

Sources & Reading

Find references for select primary and secondary materials.