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The term paleography derives from the modern Latin palaeographia, in turn formed by two Greek words: palaio– (which translates as "paleo–" ) and –graphia (that is, "–grafia" ). Paleography is called science that's dedicated to the analysis of ancient documents to study their signs and their writing.

Paleography, therefore, is the discipline that focuses on the evolution of writing. It's also dedicated to locate, classify and date those graphic materials linked to its object of study.

Paleography experts, known as paleographers, investigate the various techniques that were used to write throughout history. In this framework, they are oriented both to the process of developing the testimonies that are expressed in writing and to the result of said process.

By generating knowledge about ancient writings, paleography helps to know various questions about the way of life of other times. The researcher, in this way, obtains information about cultural and social practices of yesteryear: these data, in turn, contribute to the understanding of other historical periods.

In its broadest sense, paleography studies all forms of writing, regardless of the type of material and language, since the human being began to share his thoughts through signs. This science, however, is usually specifically geared towards alphabetic writing.

Importantly, paleography can be divided into General paleography (which takes care of any kind of document written) and specialized paleography (that deals with specific documents, such as epigraphic paleografia, the numismatic paleography and literature paleography ).

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